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Richard Renaldi's 'Touching Strangers' photos touch on human relationships




Photographer Richard Renaldi leads a photo walk with students from Loyola Marymount University at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015. Renaldi just released a book for his series,
Photographer Richard Renaldi leads a photo walk with students from Loyola Marymount University at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015. Renaldi just released a book for his series, "Touching Strangers," in which he poses strangers together for an intimate portrait.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Photographer Richard Renaldi leads a photo walk with students from Loyola Marymount University at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015. Renaldi just released a book for his series,
LMU senior marketing student Terra Jones, left, shows beachgoer Zachary Strain her portraits of him at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015. Strain is visiting Los Angeles and happened to have majored photojournalism at the University of Texas in Austin.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Photographer Richard Renaldi leads a photo walk with students from Loyola Marymount University at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015. Renaldi just released a book for his series,
Jasmine Perez poses with her friend's bird, Primavera, for LMU student Hunter Koon at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015. The LMU class focuses on photographing Los Angeles.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Photographer Richard Renaldi leads a photo walk with students from Loyola Marymount University at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015. Renaldi just released a book for his series,
KPCC Off-Ramp host John Rabe says hello to Primavera at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Photographer Richard Renaldi leads a photo walk with students from Loyola Marymount University at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015. Renaldi just released a book for his series,
Photographer Richard Renaldi leads a role-playing exercise on taking portraits of strangers with LMU senior theater arts student Ramona Ekpe at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015. Renaldi's "Touching Strangers" series are on view at LMU's Laband Art Gallery until Nov. 22, 2015.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Photographer Richard Renaldi leads a photo walk with students from Loyola Marymount University at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015. Renaldi just released a book for his series,
Emily Ralph, left, and Sydney Kramer look through their images after taking part in a photo walk at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015. Photographer Richard Renaldi's "Touching Strangers" series features large format images that he captured on the streets of towns and cities across the U.S.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Photographer Richard Renaldi leads a photo walk with students from Loyola Marymount University at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015. Renaldi just released a book for his series,
KPCC Off-Ramp host John Rabe, left, takes a selfie with LMU students Hunter Koon and Georgia De Vito at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Photographer Richard Renaldi leads a photo walk with students from Loyola Marymount University at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015. Renaldi just released a book for his series,
LMU senior film and television production student poses for a portrait during a role-playing exercise on photographing strangers before going for a photo walk at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Photographer Richard Renaldi leads a photo walk with students from Loyola Marymount University at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015. Renaldi just released a book for his series,
LMU senior accounting student Hunter Koon looks through his portraits during a photo walk at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Photographer Richard Renaldi leads a photo walk with students from Loyola Marymount University at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015. Renaldi just released a book for his series,
Photographer Richard Renaldi asks students about their experiences photographing strangers during a photo walk at the Venice Beach Pier on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC


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Three photos: a white Orthodox Jew linking arms with a young black man with dreads; an old bald white man sitting close to a Latina at a diner and holding hands; and a beautiful young black couple - he's looking into the camera, she's about to kiss his cheek.

For each photo, you wonder: what's the story here? Some of the couples look comfortable together, even amorous; other couples look a little uneasy ... but then why are they touching?

( Shalom and Jeff. New York, 2013. Richard Renaldi)

Here's the thing: they were all strangers before the photographer — Richard Renaldi — posed them for the photos in cities across America.

Renaldi's photos get at the relationships between photographers, their subjects, and you and me. And they're in an exhibit called "Touching Strangers" at Loyola Marymount University's Laband Art Gallery through November 22.

(Annalee and Rayqa. San Francisco. 2012 Richard Renaldi)

KPCC photographer Maya Sugarman and I caught up with Renaldi at Venice Beach a couple weeks ago as he was trying to teach LMU photography students the basics of approaching potential subjects on the street. 

Listen to the audio (click the arrow in the player above) to hear Renaldi talk about and teach his craft.



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