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Author Topic: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".  (Read 20551 times)

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Team HoundMom

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This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« on: May 06, 2016, 09:07:22 AM »
http://www.cbc.ca/radio/q/schedule-for-monday-march-14-2016-1.3490076/photographer-captures-the-dirty-looks-strangers-give-her-1.3490082

Long story short, this lady takes photos of herself in random public situations to capture people "giving her dirty looks" because she's bigger.

Really.

Really.

How does she know what those people are thinking?  How does she know that they're even looking at her?  I don't know about you guys, but sometimes when I'm in public and lost in thought my eyes might land on a person and stay there.  I'm not actually looking "at" them.  I would be horrified if I found myself in the background of her photos with that assumption. 

To me it looks like the people in the background are wondering why some lady is taking photos of herself for seemingly no reason.

The one of the policeman pretending to put his hat on her head - he's not making fun of her for being "fat", he's hamming it up because she's having her picture taken.  For heaven's sake some random cowboy did the same thing to me when I was posing for a pic in Tombstone, AZ.

This woman needs mental help if she thinks that every person who looks at her is judging her size. 

SamiHami

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2016, 09:24:17 AM »
Oh, yes, I've seen that before. She clearly has issues. If people looked at her then it must be because she's fat and if they ignore her it's because she's fat. Total attention seeking behavior poorly disguised as social commentary.

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

Zizi-K

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2016, 09:31:11 AM »
I think that, unless you have lived in this person's shoes (and at her size), it's not really for you or anyone else to say. I am somewhat familiar with her artistic practice, and it very much comes out of her lived experiences.  She's the person living her life and experiencing a lot of negativity, rude comments, disgusted looks, etc. Of course, the photograph is not "proof," and doesn't exist to convince you of the experiences she's had. As someone who is overweight but not at her size, I completely believe her.  What is the point of your skepticism? That fat people just don't have it that bad? That people are just way nicer than she's portraying them, that she's the evil meanie or a crybaby playing the victim?

Finally, this is a board that has to do with the "interesting assumptions" that people make about them. I fundamentally disagree that an art project that has to do with someone's own experiences can in anyway affect you. It isn't about you, and it's odd that you've made it about you.

iridaceae

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2016, 09:38:40 AM »
Because it is presumptuous of her to assume all the looks are about her or if they are that they are critical. Maybe someone's thinking "Is that Aunt Susan? " Or "my gosh! She's going to be sunburned!"

Nothing to see here.

Team HoundMom

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2016, 09:58:09 AM »
Because it is presumptuous of her to assume all the looks are about her or if they are that they are critical.

(Bolding mine.)  Exactly. Reminds me of the time when I was 13 and worked at a bus terminal snack counter.  I was at a teen dance and this girl came up to me and said "You people at the bus terminal always stare at me when I go there - what is your problem?!" I was like "What? No! I look at you because I like your bangs and want to grow mine like that."  I honestly thought she was one of the prettiest girls I'd ever seen. 

Team HoundMom

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2016, 10:02:37 AM »
What is the point of your skepticism? That fat people just don't have it that bad? That people are just way nicer than she's portraying them, that she's the evil meanie or a crybaby playing the victim?

Actually, yes.  I like to think that people aren't all that bad.  In my personal opinion this woman is looking to be offended where it's possible that no offense exists.

Celany

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2016, 10:12:33 AM »
I fundamentally disagree that an art project that has to do with someone's own experiences can in anyway affect you. It isn't about you, and it's odd that you've made it about you.

If I ended up in one of her photos, looking like I was judging her, when actually I was doing what the OP suggested "staring off into space with my RBF*" and happened to be doing that in her general direction" then yeah, it would be about me.

And while some of those photos clearly do look like people are staring at her and judging her, in others, I honestly can't tell. I don't think it's polite to shame total strangers for an art project when the stranger in question may not have even been looking at this woman. It's an interesting assumption that she's making, when she judges that they are.


*RBF - resting female-dog face. what happens when many women are thinking and staring at nothing and the expression their face relaxes into is closed and appears to be unfriendly.
I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior. ~ Hippolyte Taine

#borecore

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2016, 10:20:42 AM »
Honestly, I agree with one of the comments (and made an exception to my 'don't read the comments' rule because I wanted to see if others brought up what the OP had): "I can assure you that when you point a camera in a public place, people will a) look at the camera, and b) try to see what the photographer's subject is. They may wonder why the photograph is being taken, and whether or not they themselves will appear in the photograph. But this is simply curiosity, and has nothing to do with sneering at the subject, or body shaming."


All the pictures (except the one with the cop) look like people who don't have pleasant expressions on their faces, but I don't want to say it's because of her without further evidence.

Which isn't to say I doubt her lived experience. I have seen people give overweight people dirty looks plenty of times in real life. I just don't know that a photograph is the way to "prove" it, because having a photographer on the scene fundamentally changes how people interact with their surroundings.

SamiHami

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2016, 10:22:59 AM »
First of all, I disagree that this qualifies as art. Secondly, even if is actually considered art, she has put out there for people to see and - yes - judge. I have had my own weight issues over the years; this has nothing whatsoever to do with weight and judging people based on their appearance. It has everything to do with a person deliberately making a spectacle of herself and then deciding that people who are looking at her--because she's deliberately drawing attention to herself-are judging her weight and nothing else.

There is nothing artistic about this nonsense.

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

SamiHami

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2016, 10:27:41 AM »
Honestly, I agree with one of the comments (and made an exception to my 'don't read the comments' rule because I wanted to see if others brought up what the OP had): "I can assure you that when you point a camera in a public place, people will a) look at the camera, and b) try to see what the photographer's subject is. They may wonder why the photograph is being taken, and whether or not they themselves will appear in the photograph. But this is simply curiosity, and has nothing to do with sneering at the subject, or body shaming."


All the pictures (except the one with the cop) look like people who don't have pleasant expressions on their faces, but I don't want to say it's because of her without further evidence.

Which isn't to say I doubt her lived experience. I have seen people give overweight people dirty looks plenty of times in real life. I just don't know that a photograph is the way to "prove" it, because having a photographer on the scene fundamentally changes how people interact with their surroundings.

It is worth noting that she probably didn't use every single photograph she took; she obviously curated them to include the ones that include the message she is trying to get across. I suspect she deliberately left out pictures of people smiling at her.

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

Zizi-K

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2016, 10:43:33 AM »
First of all, I disagree that this qualifies as art. Secondly, even if is actually considered art, she has put out there for people to see and - yes - judge. I have had my own weight issues over the years; this has nothing whatsoever to do with weight and judging people based on their appearance. It has everything to do with a person deliberately making a spectacle of herself and then deciding that people who are looking at her--because she's deliberately drawing attention to herself-are judging her weight and nothing else.

There is nothing artistic about this nonsense.

How exactly is she making a spectacle of herself? By daring to appear in a bathing suit in public?

Here's a question: if you were a larger person, an artist and someone who works through personal and social issues through your chosen medium, photography, how would you try to document the shaming and looks that you experience on a regular basis? It seems to me that she's tried to capture something very central to her daily experience in the most direct way possible.

Yes, everyone I think has had the experience at some point of making a face that doesn't align with their state of mind and being asked/called out about it, or accidentally staring and having it be misinterpreted. However, we as humans use facial expressions as a primary form of communication, and it isn't an "interesting assumption" to read those facial expressions and interpret them, it is simply an "assumption", one that we make everyday, hundreds of times a day.

I think these responses are yet another symptom of this board that I have noticed, which for some reason always approaches the OP with skepticism about their experience of their own life. For this artist (and she is an artist, whether you like her art or not. She holds an MFA, she teaches photography, and is the assistant dean at an art school.), this is her experience and perception of the world. I suppose that these skeptical responses to her work are part and parcel of the artistic experience she offers, and it is quite interesting that so many people want to respond to her by saying "I don't believe that these are your experiences, it must be something else. I once had someone misinterpret a funny look on my face once, so that must be it."  Well... maybe... or this is her actual experience that you could learn something about or have an empathetic response to, instead of such a negative and cold one.

Team HoundMom

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2016, 10:44:27 AM »
"I can assure you that when you point a camera in a public place, people will a) look at the camera, and b) try to see what the photographer's subject is. They may wonder why the photograph is being taken, and whether or not they themselves will appear in the photograph. But this is simply curiosity, and has nothing to do with sneering at the subject, or body shaming."

^ My point exactly.

I was curious to see if she set up a timer or if she had another person taking the photos: http://www.haleymorriscafiero.com/the-watchers-book-copy/   Turns out she takes selfies.

Quote from the website:
Quote
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.

Um, no.  Because these strangers are never given the opportunity to respond.  There's no "conversation". 

For all we know that guy in Times Square could be simply watching some lady take a photo of herself.  Or looking at something beyond her.  Or thinking about where in "the sensory overload capital of the world" he's going to go next. 

SamiHami

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2016, 11:01:42 AM »
First of all, I disagree that this qualifies as art. Secondly, even if is actually considered art, she has put out there for people to see and - yes - judge. I have had my own weight issues over the years; this has nothing whatsoever to do with weight and judging people based on their appearance. It has everything to do with a person deliberately making a spectacle of herself and then deciding that people who are looking at her--because she's deliberately drawing attention to herself-are judging her weight and nothing else.

There is nothing artistic about this nonsense.

How exactly is she making a spectacle of herself? By daring to appear in a bathing suit in public?

Here's a question: if you were a larger person, an artist and someone who works through personal and social issues through your chosen medium, photography, how would you try to document the shaming and looks that you experience on a regular basis? It seems to me that she's tried to capture something very central to her daily experience in the most direct way possible.

Yes, everyone I think has had the experience at some point of making a face that doesn't align with their state of mind and being asked/called out about it, or accidentally staring and having it be misinterpreted. However, we as humans use facial expressions as a primary form of communication, and it isn't an "interesting assumption" to read those facial expressions and interpret them, it is simply an "assumption", one that we make everyday, hundreds of times a day.

I think these responses are yet another symptom of this board that I have noticed, which for some reason always approaches the OP with skepticism about their experience of their own life. For this artist (and she is an artist, whether you like her art or not. She holds an MFA, she teaches photography, and is the assistant dean at an art school.), this is her experience and perception of the world. I suppose that these skeptical responses to her work are part and parcel of the artistic experience she offers, and it is quite interesting that so many people want to respond to her by saying "I don't believe that these are your experiences, it must be something else. I once had someone misinterpret a funny look on my face once, so that must be it."  Well... maybe... or this is her actual experience that you could learn something about or have an empathetic response to, instead of such a negative and cold one.

I think you and I are going to have to agree to disagree on this topic.

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

Chickadee

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2016, 11:02:04 AM »
It looked to me that in several of the pictures the people around her weren't really even looking at her at all. The one at the crosswalk looks to me like the blond woman is looking at something further up the street, and the one with the young blonde in the pink bathing suit the girl appears to actually be looking at the camera.

If I was shown the pictures with no knowledge of why she had taken them I would not have said in any but the one of the man on the stairs behind her that the people were actually looking at her.

And honestly, she's out in NYC taking selfies, and I can only assume it's not with a cell phone. Of course people are going to look twice.


Team HoundMom

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Re: This book is full of "interesting assumptions".
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2016, 11:08:58 AM »
And honestly, she's out in NYC taking selfies, and I can only assume it's not with a cell phone. Of course people are going to look twice.

Especially since she obviously has the camera set up on a tripod in front of her and she's posing for it.

Also, what are the rules about publishing a person's photo without their permission?  Especially if it's for a book that she's profiting from? (Serious question, pretend that guy in Times Square realized he's in her book (and the reason she started it) and wasn't happy about it - would he have any legal recourse?)


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