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April 1, 2016
Memphis College of Art to Host Book Signing for Haley Morris-Cafiero’s The Watchers
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis College of Art will host a book signing event for Associate Professor Haley Morris-Cafiero’s new book The Watchers, a collection of photographs from her world-famous Wait Watchers series. The event is free and open to the public, and will take place Wednesday, April 27 from 6–9 p.m. in the Rust Hall Main Gallery, 1930 Poplar Ave., Overton Park. At the event, Morris-Cafiero will offer prints in special sizes and at prices exclusively available that evening, starting at $20 for a set of small prints. Copies of The Watchers will also be available for purchase, with an additional gift included at purchase.
In The Watchers, Morris-Cafiero highlights the wide variety of comments from online forums she has received in reaction to Wait Watchers. Negative comments such as “Quit eating donuts” appear next to others on the opposite end of the spectrum such as, “You gave me a little bit of faith in me again.” Rather than allowing the negative comments to dictate her self-confidence, Morris-Cafiero used the comments to inspire more of her work. The second half of Wait Watchers, titled Self-Improvement, includes shots of Morris-Cafiero doing the exact things that some commenters suggested would make her “better”—working out, trying on makeup and shopping for new clothes. The resulting photographs show that she was still met with critical stares and negative comments, even when taking part in activities that society said would make her acceptable.
Morris-Cafiero was inspired to begin the Wait Watchers series in 2010 as she was developing film from a trip to New York. She noticed in a photograph from Times Square that a man appeared to be sneering at her from behind. “It intrigued me that even though we were in the sensory overload capital of the world and he was being photographed by someone, he was fixated on me,” said Morris-Cafiero.
Her series reveals the implications for generations of children growing up in an age where social media rules the day—often characterized by body shaming or praising an ideal body type. Morris-Cafiero will visit the local Girls, Inc. chapter this month, as well as students in the Digital Media, Debate and Visual Arts classes at Hutchison School, to talk about her series and the importance of not allowing outside voices to shape personal image and value. A group from the Girls, Inc. chapter will also attend the book signing event.
Born in Atlanta, Morris-Cafiero is a graduate of the University of Florida, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Photography and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics in 1999. Nominated for the Prix Pictet in 2014 and a 2016 Fulbright finalist, Morris-Cafiero holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Art from the University of Arizona. Morris-Cafiero’s photos 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.
Photo: Haley Morris-Cafiero
Memphis College of Art provides a rigorous curriculum in an intimate, diverse community to empower generations of leading artists, designers and educators to flourish professionally and contribute valuable ideas to society. The region’s only independent art and design college, MCA is fully accredited with expert, nationally renowned faculty and grants BFA, MFA, MA in Art Education and MA in Teaching degrees with graduates excelling in various careers across the country and internationally. For more information, visit mca.edu. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/memphiscollegeofart and on Twitter at @memphisart.