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Touching Strangers, it’s the monograph taken by photographer Richard Renaldi (www.renaldi.com) that is slated to be released by the Aperture Foundation in Spring of 2014. In creating this work of art, Richard roamed the streets of New York City in search of random strangers that he would publicly bring together for intimate photos. As odd as this may sound, some of the end results revealed in this news story may truly amaze you…

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Many of you may have been already familiar with this news story or the work of Richard Renaldi as the video has been circulating the internet for over half a year now. I wanted to quickly share it now to share what parts of it truly stood out for me.

In this world, especially I find in North America, so many of us have become so accustomed to becoming lost in our own world. We walk the streets of busy downtown cores or suburban shopping malls and we choose to isolate ourselves to our electronic devices or even more prominently the perpetual rush – the walk where any form of eye contact with a stranger is unwanted and desperately avoided. What I loved the most about the work of Richard Renaldi was that with each set of strangers that he brought together he directly challenged what so many of us define as comfortable. Even though many verbal and body cues initially showed a level of discomfort and/or nervousness for many involved, this not only quickly faded but never seemed to impact the genuineness of the captured picture.

For me, this reminded me of the incredible interconnectedness that we all share with one another on the planet. I truly believe that as different as we may be, we all carry within us the ability to connect and be comfortable with even the most intimidating of “strangers.” Be sure to check out and stay posted to Richard’s website for more information on Touching Strangers once it is released. In the meantime be sure to share the video, which the news reporter summed up perfectly when he said,

…He shows us humanity as it could be, as most of us wish it would be, and as it was at least for this one fleeting moment in time.

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