The Connective Power of Photography

Posted on January 4, 2016 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Can strangers come to care for each other in the time it takes to take a photograph?

Touching Strangers Project
Source: RICHARD RENALDI

Sometimes, it’s hard to look at the people walking down the street toward us and imagine we could have a spark of connection with them, or ever come to care for them. But a series by photographer Richard Renaldi is redefining what it means to be a stranger.

In his “Touching Strangers” series, Renaldi takes strangers off the street and poses them as if they are lifelong friends, adoring family, or loving couples. Here is a piece by CBS’s “On the Road” series, about this fascinating project, and some surprising and inspiring words from its participants.

Could you see yourself doing this?

Sometimes, we forget that the people around us are as complex as we are. We all have stories to be told and emotional moments in our lives. Perhaps, in the intimacy of coming together in a photograph, Renaldi is giving his subjects the space and safety to recognize these threads of connection.

You can see some of the images from the Touching Strangers series on Richard Renaldi’s website, and purchase Renaldi’s book from the series on Amazon.

Perhaps connecting with people isn’t as difficult as we think. If we walked out into the world with the knowledge that posing in a photograph with a stranger could bring us closer, maybe even make us care about them for a fleeting period of time, how would that change our day to day interactions?

So, perhaps “it’s an amazing world” simply because we all have the power of connection!

-Liesl
“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”-Victor Borge

Liesl can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV


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