Richard Renaldi’s Touching Strangers on Kickstarter

Jun 25, 2013 6:46PM

Since 2007, photographer Richard Renaldi has worked on a series of photographs for which he asks complete strangers to physically interact while posing together for a portrait. Working on the street with a large-format 8-by-10 view camera, Renaldi encounters his subjects in towns and cities all over the United States. Renaldi’s objective was to introduce an unpredictable variable into a traditional photographic formula, and to create spontaneous and fleeting relationships between complete strangers. The portraits are extremely difficult to make, involving complex negotiations with the participants that push them past comfort levels into a physical intimacy normally reserved for loved ones or friends. Touching Strangers creates intimate and ephemeral relationships that exist only for the moment of the photograph. The images are beautiful and strange, crossing out of the zones of safe physical intimacy with strangers and into deep emotional landscapes never photographed before.

In Spring 2014, through the support of backers on Kickstarter, Aperture will publish Touching Strangers as a photobook, including new photographs from Renaldi’s shoots this summer in Albuquerque, Chicago, New York, and Southern California.

Chris Boot, executive director of Aperture, says, “We think these great photographs have something positive to say about human connection . . . about a diverse society in which people have been taught not to touch each other but in which we can and do transcend the boundaries set around us. In seeking support to make the book possible, we want to ask you—strangers—to help us. This makes this Kickstarter campaign—Aperture’s first—part of the work itself, a way for strangers to connect with each other. We hope this project touches you, and that you’ll want to participate with us in bringing this book to the world.”

Pre-order Touching Strangers: Photographs by Richard Renaldi now on Kickstarter (funding period: June 21–August 5, 2013).

In October 2013 Richard Renaldi will host Strangers in New York: Photographing People, a two-day intensive workshop for students wishing to sharpen their skills making portraits of strangers. Register here.

All images © Richard Renaldi