I really like the idea behind these photographs by Richard Renaldi. He places complete strangers together, usually from very different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. His first intentions may have been to show a tenderness and unity between the differences, but we’re a very divided animal.
We’ll always be a divided people as united people are more difficult to control and manipulate. Much of the system’s resources go towards reminding us how divided and different we are. I can feel a rant coming on, so I’ll go have a cup of tea and listen to Moby really loud
Pape, Alioun, Gracya, Terry and Cheikh – I’m guessing Terry is the awkward white guy trying to look relaxed.
Chris and Amaira – This is threatening because the media has taught me to see it as threatening. The media tells me I should be afraid of everything and everyone.
Alex and Carlos – This one doesn’t look awkward at all!
Nathan and Robyn – This is a cheeky one. I think it was taken to look menacing. A cop with his gun looking like it wants to jump out of its holster and his arms around the neck of a pretty young girl in short shorts usually means something bad is about to happen.
Shalom and Jeff – Renaldi struggled to get an orthodox jewish guy to be photographed.
The NYTimes recently did a piece on the Touching Strangers series by Richard Renaldi here. It talks about the challenges of getting the odd pairings together and the rejections that come with it. The photographer is also planning to release a book on the Touching Strangers series. See his blog and website here to see more pictures and information about it.