Richard Renaldi has been working on the Touching Strangers series since 2007. His process involves approaching and asking complete strangers to physically interact with each other 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.
The photograph Jeromy and Matthew, Columbus, Ohio, 2011, is an example of how Renaldi pairs up his subjects 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 (Aperture, 2014) is Renaldi’s third book, following Figure and Ground (Aperture, 2006) and Fall River Boys (2009).

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