Touching Strangers

Most photographers capture life as it is, but Richard Renaldi shows us humanity as it could be.

Richard Renaldi is a photographer who puts together “total strangers who were meant to be together, if only for a moment.”

He poses them in pairs, groups or families with body language usually reserved for relationships of comfort and familiarity.

Of course it’s awkward at first for those who choose to participate, but many people react with surprise over how much comfort they feel by being connected with someone, how much they care for a stranger after holding the pose for a brief time.

Watch the video of Steve Hartman’s On the Road report for CBS and read more here. And find the Touching Strangers project further documented here.

What are the implications of this for even acting as if we care for someone (much less touching them, which does of course have its limitations)? Would we feel closer if we engaged in behaviors that we normally reserve for more established relationships, acting “as if?” Do feelings follow intentions?

I’ve written before about eye-gazing parties and cuddle parties, both popular mechanisms by which people connect.

Maybe we can start with hugging the people with whom we already have relationships. Or being open to exchanging a few words or a kind glance with strangers or — if we should happen to come upon Richard Renaldi in the street — being willing to pose with a stranger with expectation of feeling some kinship.

Risk leads to potential connection.


PHOTO CREDIT: Richard Renaldi (of course!)

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