“What a Dumb Fatty:” New Book Documents Fat Shaming

“What a dumb fatty.”

“You are beautiful and inspiring and such an asset to humanity.”

WATCHING THE WATCHERS

Celebrated photographer and Web sensation releases new book based on
the pictures that created an Internet firestorm

SEE SAMPLE PHOTOS: http://www.haleymorriscafiero.com

Becoming an Internet sensation was the last thing on photographer
Haley Morris-Cafiero’s mind when she released a series of
self-portraits on Lenscratch, a fine art site frequented mostly by
photography aficionados. The images showed an overweight woman in
public places being gawked at and ridiculed, sneered at and sized up.
When The Huffington Post and The Daily Mail picked up the series
(http://www.haleymorriscafiero.com) viewers deluged the sites and
Morris-Cafiero herself with both withering condemnation and
heart-melting praise. She was called everything from a “fat lump of
lard” who should kick her donut habit to “brilliant and so powerful.”

The photos hit a cultural nerve that exposed our deepest anxieties,
our ugliest prejudices, and our kindest impulses. They spoke to our
standards of beauty, the expectations placed on women to achieve them,
and to how we react when we think a woman has strayed to far from
them. “I knew the work was powerful, but I had no idea how deeply it
would both unnerve and inspire viewers,” says Morris-Cafiero.

The experience inspired her to expand her series of self-portraits,
and, camera in hand, she hit the road, surreptitiously snapping photos
of herself in destinations as far-flung as Prague and New Orleans,
Miami and Berlin. The result is her new book THE WATCHERS (November
2015, The Magenta Foundation, hardcover). Along with additional photos
the book is sprinkled with the comments—both brutal and
compassionate—prompted by the initial release of the photos.

With these photos, Morris-Cafiero demands that we reckon with some of
our most deeply ingrained values, assumptions, and prejudices. THE
WATCHERS is at once the work of an artist at the height of her craft,
a social critique of the everyday body shaming, and an act of
resistance to a culture that too often objectifies women.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

HALEY MORRIS-CAFIERO holds a BA in Photography and a BFA in Ceramics
from University of North Florida and a MFA in Art from University of
Arizona. She is an Associate Professor and Assistant Dean at Memphis
College of Art. Her series of photographs, Wait Watchers, has been
featured in over 50 articles all over the world and she has appeared
on CBS This Morning and NPR to discuss her photographs. She has been
nominated for the 2014 Prix Pictet and is a finalist for the
Renaissance Prize.

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