Richard Renaldi: Touching Strangers
March 19 – May 14, 2016
Since 2007, Richard Renaldi (American, b. 1968) has worked 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 his subjects in towns and cities across the United States and invites them to pose together, 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. 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. These relationships may only last for the moment of the photograph, but the resulting images raise profound questions about the possibilities for positive human connection in a diverse society. This exhibition presents opportunities for discussion and reflection on both our commonalities as individuals and the potential for breaking down societal barriers that separate us.
Renaldi received his BFA in photography from New York University in 1990. Exhibitions of his photographs have been mounted in galleries and museums throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. In 2006 Renaldi’s first monograph, Figure and Ground, was published by Aperture. His second monograph, Fall River Boys, was released in 2009. He is the founder and publisher of Charles Lane Press. Touching Strangers is his third book.
Organized by Aperture Foundation, New York. Curator: Ann Pallesen, Gallery Director, Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle. The traveling exhibition Touching Strangers was made possible, in part, with the support of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.
Image credit: Richard Renaldi, Tari, Shawn and Summer, Los Angeles, California, 2012. Photograph. Courtesy of Richard Renaldi.