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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Touching Strangers by Richard Renaldi



I just stumbled onto the work of Richard Renaldi. He raised $80,000 for his Touching Strangers book project. It's a series of portraits where he asks complete strangers to interact physically. The work itself is nice but for me I would give him extra credit for hauling a 8" x 10" large-format camera around. Having worked with that type of camera it's tough to move, focus, and expose. Depending on how meticulous you want to get it could be an all day affair. I'm curious if he has a digital back to capture the photos.



What is interesting and moving for me is that he creates artificial situations that blossom into tangible relationships. These relationships grow from seeming different people from different walks of life. I as a viewer can almost see the emerging relationship from this forced familiarity. Some are sweet and some are awkward.


But what's better for me is that these photos break our preconceptions and snap judgements of how we view these all these people. Maybe how they relate to you and me, maybe how they would relate to each other if they weren't physically touching, or maybe how they would relate to others after this brief moment in time.

These collection of photos might excite the little part of us who strives for intimacy in a busy and full world. It's an emotional connection that I think we all secretly strive for. This emotional connection that manifests itself in our electronic social networks, texts, Instagrams, voice memos and the like.
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