Watching Weight Watchers


Photographer Haley Morris-Cafiero has created a series in which she herself is situated. We see her in different locations. But the subject are the people surrounding her. Being a person that struggles with her weight, hearing people commenting about her physique has always been part of her life. But capturing the looks and the stares was something that she never thought possible. Until she took photos of herself in Times Square and notices something. In several photographs she notices that different people were staring and some had an expression of disgust on their faces. A new series was born.

The series is called “Wait Watchers”. She places a camera in view and photographed herself doing different things. Such as reading, sketching and talking on the phone. But the one activity that created the most response was when she was eating. For her it is not really certain if people watch her because she’s fat or perhaps she’s taking a photo of herself.

Whether people may look at her for taking a photograph or with the idea “look at that fat lady” is not sure. But what is for sure is that the time we live in has placed a stigma on being a large person. Looking at commercials, magazines and models a standard of size has been set. Compare them to models from the twenties and thirties Or even in art from the 1800s. A difference can be seen. In a way Morris-Cafiero is putting the shame back to ones thoughts. Judging yourself and not someone else.

I have always been aware of people making faces, commenting and laughing at me about my size. I now reverse the gaze and record their reactions to me while I perform mundane tasks in public spaces. I seek out spaces that are visually interesting and geographically diverse. I try to place myself in compositions that contain feminine icons or advertisements.

Haley Morris-Cafiero’s website: haleymorriscafiero.com

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Distorted Self-image

Every artist will create a self-portrait once in a while. Whether it’s a study to try out some new ideas or a piece of remembrance for history’s sake. Rembrandt did it. Picasso did it. Cindy Sherman became famous with it. And today it seems that Photoshop gives photographers the same freedom every painter enjoys when creating something. Yet there are still artists out there who create everything without that useful digital tool.

And that makes the work of Laurence Demaison, French artist, even more wonderful and special. She’s an artist who shoots on film. The photographs are not manipulated afterwards. Sometimes she does play around with the chemicals a bit, but that’s it. Her work consists out of self-portraits that give me a sense of deepness and seriousness. The distortion of herself seem to resonate a deeper meaning. A meaning that go further than only her self-image. Often the finished images shows us a figure, not immediately recognizable to be Laurence herself. Her work brings me in a¬†melancholic state of mind. What it does with you? I don’t know. Visit her website and see for yourself.

Laurence Demaison’s website: www.laurencedemaison.com

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Chris Jordan

Numbers Visualized

Some statistics are just too mind-blowingly incomprehensible to digest. Luckily there is an artist who tries to translate incomprehensible data into comprehensible works of art. His name is Chris Jordan. Chris visualizes statistics in his series “Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait”. For example, he visualizes the consumption of plastic bottles in the United States every minute by using 400,000 plastic bottle caps in his artwork called¬†Caps Seurat. And he shows us 2.3 million folded prison uniforms, equal to the number of Americans incarcerated in 2005.

Chris isn’t pointing any fingers. He just wants to show the U.S. who they are at this moment in time. His visualizations are making it very clear that certain things in American culture, maybe even western culture, are open for reform. Visit his website to see at all of his visualizations. You can zoom in on the works of art to really dig into the statistic. Below you also find the talk he gave at TED in 2008.

Website: www.chrisjordan.com

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