Statement

Haley Morris-Cafiero

Project Title:  The Bully Pulpit

In my latest photo series, The Bully Pulpit, I investigate the social phenomenon of cyberbullying through the public profiles of people who attempt to bully me. For years, people have been hiding behind their computer screens to bully others to the point where writing criticizing comments is common and celebrated.    These cowards use the internet to bully those they find weaker than themselves.

I photograph myself costumed like the people who’ve attempted to bully me. Finding photos online, I recreated their images using wigs, clothing, and simple prosthetics, while small imperfections mirror the fallacy that the internet will shield their identities. Finally, I overlay the parodies with transcripts of the bullying comments, almost as if I were “subtweeting” them.

My inspiration for The Bully Pulpit was the countless numbers of people wrote mean-spirited comments about me in emails, tweets, Instagram posts, blogs and online comments sections when Wait Watchers was published online and went viral. But instead of responding individually to “deaf ears,” I realize that I can parody the bullies attempts by creating images and publishing them on the internet —the same vehicle used for their attacks—and the images would be seen by millions, and would live again, again, and again.