Bold Street Photography Project: Photographing Strangers Together

Photographs of friends, family, and loved ones tend to be posed to include physical touch. Intimacy and closeness are symbolized by interlocked hands or warm embraces. What happens if you pose strangers the same way you pose people who are familiar with one another? Richard Renaldi has done just that in a series he calls Touching Strangers.

Since 2007 he has created over 150 images of two or more strangers using his 8×10 view camera. Watch how he successfully identifies and poses passersby together on the street:

If you didn’t know the story behind these images, you might not even give them a second glance. Renaldi has a gift for capturing a familiar intimacy in his photographs that make them beautifully ordinary. However, achieving his vision is incredibly difficult.


Renaldi likens his search for subjects to a hypnotist in search of people who might be susceptible to suggestion. He looks for people who seem open and who he can push to their limits of comfort with other strangers.

His subjects are often hesitant, but he is able to convince them to pose even when they feel vulnerable. The results are thought-provoking.



Many photographers set out to photograph strangers, but Renaldi adds an element of complexity by encouraging physical interaction among individuals who have never met. In this unique and challenging series, Renaldi closes the gap between strangers. His impromptu photo shoots are a gateway to the human connection–if only fleeting–that is usually lost to the anonymity of city life.

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5 responses to “Bold Street Photography Project: Photographing Strangers Together”

  1. Gary says:

    Street photography is all about capturing candid views of people going about their daily business. It isn’t about posed portraiture, which is the antithesis of candid photography. What makes street photography work is capturing people as they naturally are, perhaps at their most vulnerable, and certainly their most expressive and emotive. Posing people is NOT street photography, it’s portrait photography.

  2. Hatem Kotb says:

    I love the idea & the fact that it’s totally inconvenient yet you shot some lovely photos! :)

  3. I love street photography. Buildings, food on the streets and people. It’s nice looking at pictures taken on the streets with people from all walks of life. My friend is a photographer and street photography has always been his subject. He likes taking candid pictures of people passing by and everything else.

  4. Thanks for the tips. I am just getting started in photography and tend to shy away from photographing people. This makes me want to seek out interesting subjects. Do you have people sign a release form before you publish a photograph of them? What is standard protocol for releases? Thank you.

  5. There’s something about street photography and taking pictures of strangers. It’s nice to see pictures of people doing random things on the street. One could possibly capture a lot of emotions on the street. If i get to have my own pro camera one of these days, street and beach photography would be my subjects.

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