Wait Watchers
Project info

For my series Wait Watchers, I set up a camera in a public area with heavy foot traffic and photograph the scene as I perform mundane tasks in view of passers-by. The reactions and expressions of these incidental "background" subjects become a crucial part of my self-portraits, as their faces and body language, and sometimes overt actions, expressed questioning, critical, or hostile attitudes toward the sight of me simply inhabiting my body in a public place. My work is an attempt to reverse this critical gaze back on to the stranger and place the viewer in the unsettling position of being a passive witness to this moment in time. I consider my photographs to constitute a social experiment, and I travel the world to photograph the reactions of a diverse pool of people.

I place the camera, on a tripod or with an assistant, in full view of the by-passing gazer, set the focus and exposure, and take hundreds of photographs. I do not know if I have a successful image until I review the images on the computer. The images capture the gazers in a Cartier-Bresson, microsecond moment where the shutter, the scene, my actions, and their body language align and are presented on the frame. While I do not know what they are thinking, the gazers appear visibly troubled by my presence.