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.
Touching Strangers Photobook
In Spring 2014, subject the success of this Kickstarter campaign, Aperture Foundation, the photography publisher based in New York, will publish Touching Strangers as a photobook, including new photographs from Renaldi’s shoots this summer in Albuquerque, Chicago, New York City, and Southern California.
As a non-profit foundation, Aperture relies on contributions from supporting individuals, companies, and foundations, and on sales of photographers’ limited-edition prints, to help make and publish photobooks—works of art in their own right that inspire the reader and promote awareness of the photographer.
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.”
Thank you for your help making this book possible.
Text: Essay by Richard Renaldi
Design: Namkwan Cho (the London-based designer of The Sound of Two Songs, by Mark Power, and Infidel, by Tim Hetherington). Photographs: approx. 70 in color
Size: approx. 10 x 8 inches
Retail price: approx. $50
Publication date: May 2014
The book will feature the names of all the “strangers” who help make the book possible by supporting this Kickstarter campaign.