Surprisingly Moving Portraits of Strangers Touching Each Other

by Richard Renaldi | April 1, 2014

photo credit: Courtesy Aperture Books

In any crowded urban environment, you’re bound to spend a lot of time with strangers. On subway platforms. In line at the bank. Walking down the street. We’re surrounded by people and yet there are so many barriers to interaction. 

Through his series, "Touching Strangers," photographer Richard Renaldi is seeking to tear down some of these barriers. Since 2007, Renaldi has been asking complete strangers to physically interact while posing for a portrait. Using an 8-by-10-inch large format view camera, he’s taken this project from New York to cities and towns all over the country. He coaxes his subjects into stepping out of their comfort zones, and some people are more open to it than others. Some kiss, others hold hands, some appear tense and uncomfortable while others seem to embrace the experience wholeheartedly. "Touching Strangers" aims to raise questions about the possibility for positive human connection in a diverse society. 

The Touching Strangers exhibition will be on view at Aperture Gallery in New York, April 3-May 15, 2014.

 


© Richard Renaldi
Annalee and Rayqa, San Francisco, CA from Touching Strangers (Aperture, May 2014)

 

© Richard Renaldi
Jaylynn and Dennis, 2011, Helper, UT from Touching Strangers (Aperture, May 2014) 

 


© Richard Renaldi
Gerry and Gian Michael, 2011, Miami, FL from Touching Strangers (Aperture, May 2011)

 


© Richard Renaldi 
Julie and Xavier, Chicago, IL from Touching Strangers (Aperture, May 2014)

 


© Richard Renaldi
Atiljan and Tifanny, 2011, New York, NY from Touching Strangers (Aperture, May 2014)

 


© Richard Renaldi
Donna and Donna, 2011, Craig, CO from Touching Strangers (Aperture, May 2014)

 


© Richard Renaldi
Alfredo and Jessica, 2011, New York, NY from Touching Strangers (Aperture, May 2014)

 


© Richard Renaldi
Kiya and Simon, 2012, New York, NY from Touching Strangers (Aperture, May 2014)

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//article/117208/touching-strangers-richard-renaldi-surprisingly-moving