Photographer’s Series Removes The Space Between Strangers

By: Julie Gerstein / August 23, 2013

Most of the time, those of us who live in busy urban areas do our best to avoid bumping into or grazing the hands of our fellow city-dwellers. We’re too afraid of being admonished for violating someone’s personal space, too aware of when our own personal space feels threatened. But when given permission to actually touch one another, to share a bit of intimacy, everything transforms. That’s what photographer Richard Renaldi is trying to provide with his “Touching Strangers” photo series. For the project, Renaldi poses two (or three) perfect strangers together, giving them them the opportunity to safely explore intimacy with an unknown. You can see how the experience transforms people — from awkwardly trying to maintain a sense of personal space, to finally relaxing their bodies and leaning into the experience.  “We are probably missing so much about the people all around us,” said one willing participant in the project. Truly, we are. Which is why Renaldi’s “Strangers” series is so powerful: It offers us a glimpse at what could be, or might have been, between two people. A book featuring many of his photos will be coming out soon on the nonprofit Aperture Foundation press. [Instinct Magazine]