Belfast Exposed is delighted to present The Bully Pulpit by Haley Morris-Cafiero, an exhibition curated by Deirdre Robb. Morris-Cafiero’s latest photography series investigates the social phenomenon of cyber bullying in the age of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Apparently anonymous, hidden behind their computer screens, some people bully others, and have done so for years. The prevalence of online bullying has encouraged countless more to mete out these abusive acts, apparently preying on those weaker than themselves.
Morris-Cafiero photographed herself costumed like the people who’ve attempted to bully her. Finding photos online, she recreated their images using wigs, clothing, and simple prosthetics, while small imperfections mirror the fallacy that the internet will shield their identities. Finally, Morris-Cafiero overlays the parodies with transcript of the bullying comments, almost as if she were ‘subtweeting’ them.
Morris-Cafiero’s inspiration for The Bully Pulpit was the myriad of people who wrote mean-spirited comments about her after Wait Watchers was published in emails, tweets, Instagram posts, blogs and online comments sections. But instead of responding individually to ‘deaf ears’, Morris-Cafiero realised that a parody on social media, online articles, and blogs - the same vehicles for her own potential hurt - would be seen by millions, and would live again, again, and again.