Photographer Captures Strangers Embracing and Connecting

How would you feel if a random photographer stopped you and asked you to pose by embracing, touching or hugging a stranger? Richard Renaldi has been creating his intimate series "Touching Strangers" for years and has learned plenty about human behavior through this process.

Renaldi looks for combinations of strangers to create interesting couples or groups of people who have never met each other before and yet are destined to be together for this shoot. After finding the right people he tells them to be a couple for a moment or to strike up a friendship in a matter of seconds which is then further conveyed in the way he poses them for the camera.

Admittedly, majority of people are either unaware of what they are signing up for or are shy and nervous. However, soon after they have been asked to engage with a stranger, their demeanor becomes more relaxed and some subjects even reveal that after this experience they have generated a connection with the other person, even if initially they appear to be polar opposites and otherwise would not have met. His project also shines attention to just how many people we pass by everyday and have no idea about the extent of their lives or personalities.

How would you feel if you were asked to embrace a stranger in front of a camera?

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Tyler Chappell's picture

Ok we get it, you ignorant homophobe.

David Stephen Kalonick's picture

Most artists on here are "we". And Artist have an open-minded approach to life. Pretty sure you're just trolling. I swear if Christians could impose their own Sharia Law they would. America isn't going to allow it Bob. Times are changing bud.

Anete Lusina's picture

What if it's a transgender and you have no idea whether they're pre or post-op? :))

Arber Elezi's picture

Great Idea, well done, I Love it!

Anonymous's picture

Personally I think the images are strong but not very memorable, but I agree that the concept is great!

Anonymous's picture

Strange how the conversation has been momentarily derailed.

I’m not sure what sexual orientation has to do with this portrait series: I don’t remember reading or watching anything in this article about Renaldi asking strangers to kiss or f@&k each other.

I’ve embraced men before and have yet to turn gay.

Silly non issue.

Anonymous's picture

I wasn’t supporting anyone. In fact, I agree with you voicing your opinion here and there’s nothing wrong with what you do and don’t want to do. That was the question posed by the author, and you answered it. I wasn’t responding to you in particular (I know; you must be amazed by that).

But if anyone actually read the article, watched the clip, or know the work, they would know there’s nothing sexual about it. Nothing more intimate than a hug from a family member (male or otherwise).

Which is why this is silly, and just barely enough for me to respond to. Barely.

Anonymous's picture

I don’t follow your elongated “right”. Are you implying my response was disingenuous?

To clarify: you were still partly at fault for the devolution of this comment thread, but you weren’t alone.

Whether or not you are gay has nothing to do with this project.

Mike Smith's picture

What a fantastic project. I have taken hundreds of strangers photos before in my 100 Strangers Project (originally on Flickr) For me, a shyish person, it was about gaining confidence as a portrait photographer and therefore the brief interaction between subject and myself was key. I generally got a very welcoming and positive reaction from the people I asked. I think having two unrelated subjects is such a unique and interesting idea...