New York photographer Richard Renaldi has embarked on a remarkable photo project called “Touching Strangers”. Starting in 2007, Renaldi has collected over 150 unlikely couples. He has done so by wondering the streets of his native New York and other major cities, asking complete strangers if they would be willing to take a photograph as if they were intimately acquainted as friends or family.
He is out there invoking people to touch each other. To breach taboos, across race, class, age, barriers. It says something about human society.
The strange couples are posed side-by-side, face-to-face, or kneeling, always with hand or bodily contact. It becomes hard for the viewer to see these two as anything but loving family members or friends at least.
It somehow goes to prove the old adage “a stranger is only a friend you haven’t met”. In a culture where horrific things happen everyday, from one human against another, a work like this – that transcends bias or prejudice – reminds us of the need for human connection, human contact. To be known for what binds us, not what tears us apart.
These photographs show us humanity as it should be.
Working on the street with a large format 8-by-10 view camera, Renaldi has gathered his collection together for an art book through Kickstarter. Check it out:
A Special-Edition Book of Photographs by Richard Renaldi
On the Road Features “Touching Strangers” BTS
To see more of Richard Renaldi’s work, check out his website: renaldi.com
All images © Richard Renaldi
Until Next Time . . .
Stay Inspired ~ Jules