The United Photo Industries Gallery presents the first New York exhibition of WAIT WATCHERS by Haley Morris-Cafiero, on view from March 2 through to April 21, 2017, with a reception, open to all, held on Thursday, March 2nd from 6–9pm to celebrate the artist and her work.
Part performer, part artist, part provocateur, part spectator, Haley Morris-Cafiero explores the act of reflection in her photography. Morris-Cafiero’s photographs have been widely exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad, and have been featured in numerous newspapers, magazines and online including Le Monde, New York Magazine and Salon. Born in Atlanta, she is a graduate of the University of North Florida, where she earned a BA in Photography and a BFA in Ceramics in 1999. Nominated for the Prix Pictet in 2014 and a 2016 Fulbright finalist, Morris-Cafiero holds a MFA from the University of Arizona in Art. Her monograph, The Watchers, was published last year. Morris-Cafiero is an Associate Professor of Photography and is the Assistant Dean at the Memphis College of Art.
Four years ago, I started the Wait Watchers photographic series when I was taking a self-portrait in Times Square. After I got the film developed I noticed that there was a man behind me and he appeared to be sneering at me. It intrigued me that even though we were in the sensory overload capital of the world and he is being photographed by someone, he was fixated on me. And then it happened 5 minutes later on the same roll of film. Since then, I have set up my camera for the purpose of capturing the expressions of passersby.
When I get home, I look at each frame to see if anyone in the photograph had a critical or questioning look on their face or gesture in their body language. While I do not know what the passerby is thinking, my goal is to reverse the gaze back onto the stranger and start a conversation. I am very interested in how society uses their gaze to project emotions and then how we interpret the looks of others.
In February of last year, a wonderful blog named Lenscratch published the Wait Watchers images. They were then published on websites all around the world. With the viral exposure came comment sections and blogs that hosted thousands of anonymous comments that said my life and, in the some cases, the world would be better if I lost weight and got a makeover.
© Haley Morris-Cafiero – "Turtle" at United Photo Industries Gallery in DUMBO