The Project: WAIT WATCHERS
In 2010, I set up a camera to take a self-portrait in Times Squares in New York City. After I had the film developed, I looked at the images and found that a man was standing behind me and appeared to be sneering at me. I never thought that I would capture a glance that can last a microsecond. Since then, I have been setting up a camera in public to see if I can capture the gazes of the strangers who walk by me while I am doing everyday, mundane acts. I then look at the images to see if anyone who passed by me had a critical or questioning look on their face or in their body language. I present the images to the world to start a conversation. While I do not know what the passersby is thinking, I attempt to reverse the gaze back onto the stranger.
"Her ability to draw attention to global attitudes about weight, fat shaming and other issues related to body identity is tremendously deserving of your support."
— Jon Feinstein, Co-Founder of Humble Arts Foundation
In February 2013, the Wait Watchers images were published on the wonderful blog, Lenscratch. The next day, they were published on Huffington Post, then Daily Mail in the UK, and then went viral.
After my photos received viral exposure, I found that most of the articles had comment sections filled with thousands of anonymous comments criticizing my body, my clothes, my face, my hair, etc. Then the critical comments starting coming via email. Most of the comments and emails said that my life (and in some cases the world) would be better if I lost weight and got a makeover. The unsolicited criticism inspired the next phase of the Wait Watchers series.
I love my body and these unsolicited criticisms fuelled me to make new images.
I now set up a camera and record people as they pass by me while I am doing what society wants me to do: exercise and get a makeover. By attempting to "improve" myself, I am engaging in the conversation of body acceptance and idealized beauty standards that unrealistic and unwanted by many people.
Why does this book need to be published?
In addition to critical emails and comments, I have received hundreds of emails from supportive people who have found inspiration in my photographs. Some say "thank you" and others tell stories of my images helping them love their body, overcome bullying or not commit suicide. Most of these people will not see my work in a gallery or museum. They need the images to hold in the hands and access them whenever they desire. The only way to achieve this is through publishing a book.
In September 2015, subject to the success of this Kickstarter campaign, The Magenta Foundation, Canada’s pioneering non-profit, charitable arts publishing house, based in Toronto, Canada, will publish THE WATCHERS, based on the Wait Watchers series of photos by Haley Morris-Cafiero.
THE WATCHERS will be available in three versions—a Regular Trade Edition, a Boxed Special Edition and a Deluxe Special Edition complete with special edition print.
Regular Trade Edition
- 60 photos
- Size approx.: 9 x 11 inch
- 144 pages (approx.)
- Forward by: TBA
- Printed and laminated hardcover
- Interior pages sheetfed printed full-colour throughout on premium paper stock
Boxed Special Edition
Same as the Regular Trade Edition, except:
- cover will be clothbound
- packaged in a custom designed box/slipcase
Deluxe Special Edition
Same as the Boxed Special Edition, except:
- includes a 9 x 9 inch limited edition print that will be signed and numbered by me. The exclusive print will be of a new work, “Popsicle”, that has not been exhibited before and will never be sold again.
Examples of the Rewards
Pledge $25 or more – All backers will receive a set of five 5 x 7 inch prints from the Wait Watchers series (selections are random), and will have their name listed in the acknowledgement section of the book.
Pledge $50 or more – All backers will receive a signed copy of the Regular Trade Edition of THE WATCHERS, and will have their name listed in the acknowledgement section of the book.
Pledge $125 or more – 75 backers will receive a signed copy of the Boxed Special Edition of THE WATCHERS, and will have their name listed in the acknowledgement section of the book.
Pledge $250 or more – 70 backers will receive a signed and numbered copy of the Deluxe Special Edition of THE WATCHERS, and will have their name listed in the acknowledgement section of the book. A 9 x 9 inch print of a never before exhibited and never again sold image called “Popsicle”, will also be included.
Pledge $500 or more – 10 backers will receive a signed and numbered copy of the Regular Trade Edition of THE WATCHERS, and will have their name listed in the acknowledgement section of the book. A 17 x 22 inch (image size 14 x 18 inch) print of "Turtle," a never before exhibited before image.
Pledge $1,200 or more – I will speak and do a presentation at your school, organization or conference (limited to 5 backers). This amount will only cover my lecture fees. You will also receive a signed copy of the Boxed Special Edition of THE WATCHERS.
A word from The Magenta Foundation
Established in 2004, The Magenta Foundation is Canada’s pioneering non-profit, charitable arts publishing house. Magenta was created to organize promotional opportunities for artists in an international context through circulated exhibitions and publications. Magenta works with respected individuals and international organizations to help increase recognition for artists while uniting the global photography community. www.magentafoundation.org
The publication of THE WATCHERS will be the first monograph by Haley Morris-Cafiero. All of us here at Magenta have been big fans of the work for the past few years and we are very pleased to be working together with Haley to bring this book to fruition. This publication is worth your attention and support. As we bring the clear message to self love to the surface, I hope you will join us in celebrating how special bodies of all shapes and sizes are.
This is our first Kickstarter campaign. We are very excited to present this accomplished project and monograph to a global audience.
We’d like to thank everyone who participated in the video and gave us the advice and support we needed. It is very appreciated.
Thank you for helping make this book possible.
Risks and challenges
Magenta is a very experienced book publisher and is quite aware of the challenges that arise with the publication of a book and the unforeseen circumstances that may appear. Should this Kickstarter campaign be successful, we will move mountains to make sure this book is published by June 2015 and released worldwide by September 2015.
THE WATCHERS will be sold in limited quantities through this Kickstarter campaign. This is an Early Bird offering to everyone at Kickstarter first. And to be clear, this is a limited edition First Edition.
We’d also like to mention that the entire publishing budget for this special edition will cost Haley & Magenta more then the allotted Kickstarter goal to produce. Although our ask for this campaign is very small, we hope that you help us achieve our full publishing budget so that we can bring you the finest production of this book possible. And the lovely thing about any Kickstarter campaign is that working together with all of you makes this entire project special and exclusive.
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ALL of my photos document the scene as it happens. Nothing has been manipulated in Photoshop. The entire project hinges upon an image that captures a moment in time.
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