BTS: Richard Renaldi Introduces & Poses Complete Strangers on the Streets of NYC

Photographer Richard Renaldi‘s 6-year-long project Touching Strangers has been an incredible success. From viral Internet fame to a full-fledged photo book that exceeded its Kickstarter goal eight times over, there’s something profoundly moving about complete strangers posed together, sometimes quite intimately, on the streets of NYC.

In the video above we get a behind the scenes look at how Renaldi does what he does, and how his subjects, sometimes reticent at first, often wind up feeling at ease and connected to this perfect stranger they didn’t know existed 10 minutes ago.

The behind-the-scenes video was put together a couple of months ago by CBS News for their segment “OnTheRoad with Steve Hartman,” and it follows Renaldi around as he makes the magic happen.

Tari, Shawn, Summer, 2012, CA

Tari, Shawn, Summer, 2012, CA

Similar to the recent Humans of New York BTS video we shared, getting to walk around and watch Renaldi at work is both educational and inspirational. In some ways his job is harder than HONY’s Brandon Stanton: he not only has to approach complete strangers and ask to take their picture… he has to ask them to intimately pose with yet another complete stranger in the process.

It takes Renaldi some 10 minutes to get the photo he’s looking for with his massive 8×10 large format camera, and in that time some strangers remain strangers — meaning they never warm up to each other. But more surprising is the fact that many of the pairs or groups wind up feeling closer to one another.

The subjects captured on video by CBS tell Hartman everything from “it was a good feeling,” to “it was nice to feel that comfort,” to “I felt like it brought down a lot of barriers.” And that, says Renaldi, is part of the magic.

“Everyone seems to come away with kind of a good feeling,” Richard tells Hartman. “It’s kind of lovely. It’s lovely.”

(via LiveLeak via Reddit)

Image credits: Photograph by Richard Renaldi.

  • Carl Meyer

    Many of those strangers have personality, something most people walking on the streets lack. Sorting the wheat from the chaff is the key when working with strangers.

  • Thomas Casey

    I like it.

  • Rabi Abonour

    While I think this is a cool project with some compelling images, this is the third time it has been featured on Petapixel. That seems a little excessive.

  • kevin

    my aunt just got a new red BMW 3 Series Hybrid by working parttime off of a pc online… Full Article


  • theirmind

    I am also very happy to act as one.

  • mojo

    sh.t, I really wanted a blue one. too bad then

  • Espen

    That’s just wrong. How do you know most people doesn’t have personality? I’m an extrovert, and find myself talking to strangers all the time (what else to do on trains, planes, and long queues?). They’ve all had a interesting story, a background, and quirks about them. I hate “normal” people, luckily, I haven’t found any yet.