One man decided to do something about the fact that people stared at him because of his disability. Born without legs, he grew tired of the gawking. So one day he took a picture of someone staring at him. This led to a trip to capture 32,000 stares. And on that journey he learned some things about staring.
He reports that when people stare, they see different things. In one place he's seen as a beggar, in another a holy man. In Montana, where he attends college, he was seen by one person as a disabled vet. They saw him in the context of their culture, among other things.
Kevin Connolly visited 15 countries in three months shooting photos, using in part a grant and prize money from a disabled ski competition. He has a statement on his site about his conclusions on staring as a response by people and how people make up stories about what they see - and how context plays a role in that. You can see his work at The Rolling Exhibition.