Photographer Richard Renaldi took to the streets to create a breathtaking new project. Entitled Touching Strangers, the exhibit and accompanying book (available here) showcases the incredible portraits that arose when Renaldi convinced two or more complete strangers to pose together in gently (and sometimes highly) intimate poses. From these pairings arose a strange, wonderful kind of intimacy that you don't often see.
Spanning seven years, Touching Strangers grew out of Renaldi's natural curiosity at what was and wasn't there between strangers. In an interview with Chicagoist, he explained, "I used to look at people waiting at a stop light together, and I would be drawn to the space between them and how they are connected. I always knew I wanted to [photograph] sometime like that."
It is a fascinating body of work that was often left up to fate. When asked about how he found the "right pair" for a photograph, he replied, "That is such a funny term, the "right pair," it's all so much more random than that. A big part of the experience is serendipity, with person A and person B in that space and at that time, and I was there and making one of these pictures, and it just happens."
And thank goodness they did happen. These beautiful, evocative photos will re-write what intimacy means for many of us, and many more will never look at a stranger the same way again.
If you want to see the project up close, visit Aperture Gallery in NYC, April 3 – May 15.
The gorgeous cover of Renaldi's book.
Jeromy and Matthew, 2011, Columbus, OH
Atiljan and Tiffany, 2011, New York, NY
Donna and Donna, 2011, Craig, CO
Alfredo and Jessica, 2011, New York, NY
Tari, Shawn, and Summer, 2012, Los Angeles, CA
Vincent and Charles, 2012, Los Angeles, CA
Tom, Alaina, and Charlie, 2012, San Francisco, CA
Heather and Johnny, 2012, San Francisco, CA
Nathan and Robyn, 2012, Provincetown, MA