Touching StrangersPhotographs by Richard Renaldi
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Since 2007, Richard Renaldi has been working on a series of photographs that involve approaching and asking complete strangers to physically interact while posing together for a portrait. Working on the street with a large format 8-by-10-inch view camera, Renaldi encounters the subjects for his photographs in towns and cities all over the United States. He pairs them up and invites them to pose together, intimately, in ways that people are usually taught to reserve for their close friends and loved ones. Renaldi creates spontaneous and fleeting relationships between strangers for the camera, often pushing his subjects beyond their comfort levels. These relationships may only last for the moment the shutter is released, but the resulting photographs are moving and provocative, and raise profound questions about the possibilities for positive human connection in a diverse society.
Richard Renaldi (born in Chicago, 1968) graduated from New York University with a BFA in photography in 1990. He has presented solo exhibitions both in the United States and abroad, including at Fotografins Hus, Stockholm; Robert Morat Galerie, Hamburg, Germany; and Yossi Milo Gallery, New York. Renaldi’s work has also appeared in group exhibitions, including Strangers: The First ICP Triennial of Photography and Video at the International Center of Photography, New York (2003). Touching Strangers is Renaldi’s third book, following Figure and Ground (Aperture, 2006), and Fall River Boys (2009).
Teju Cole (introduction) was born in the United States to Nigerian parents and raised in Nigeria. He is the author of two works of fiction: Every Day Is for the Thief, a novella, and the novel Open City, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the New York City Book Award for Fiction, the Rosenthal Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Internationaler Literaturpreis. He is a contributor to the New York Times, the New Yorker,
and other publications.