Asking strangers to pose together, touch and hug each other is a brave move, likely to prompt a mix of surprise and outrage. But for American photographer, Richard Renaldi, it has resulted in a collection of group portraits with an unusual emotional intensity.
Renaldi has been taking photographs of strangers since 1993. For this project, now showing at The Gallery at Hermès, he travelled the country to find his subjects. The photographs explore the most basic understanding of human interactions — the trust and fear — and the series encourages viewers ’to entertain the possibility that there is unlimited potential for new relationships with almost everybody passing by,’ Renaldi explains.
The refreshing works highlight the similarities and differences in clothing, expressions and body language between the subjects. The moment of the strangers’ connection is electric - whether filled with coldness or warmth, ease or discomfort.
The exhibition is brought to us by the fledgling Hermès Foundation, set up in 2008 to nurture contemporary artists.