When we are young, making friends is usually about as simple as walking up to a kid with a cool shirt and saying, "Cool shirt! Wanna play Batman?" Heck, you probably don't even need the opener about the cool shirt. Want to know how I met my best friend from second grade? We both had L.A. Lights shoes (you know, the ones with the light up soles that ran out of battery power after a week), and we bonded over that intensely enough to hang out with each other every day for the next two years.
Sadly, as adults, making new friends is significantly more difficult. If I were to try to walk up to a 30-year-old man and say, "Hey! I'm Archie, wanna be friends?" he'd probably give me a funny look before walking away. For one reason or another, we grow up to be a lot more guarded as adults than when we were kids. In the words of Robert Frost, however, "Something there is that doesn't love a wall," and for one New York City photographer, getting people to drop their guard has become a beautiful obsession.
Richard Renaldi's "Touching Strangers" project brings together perfect strangers that Richard finds on the streets of N.Y.C., and puts them in awkwardly intimate poses with one another. Everyone always starts off guarded and reserved; their body language is stiff and distant, and they're hesitant to make too much physical or visual contact. After a while, though, something magical happens - the shared experience of discomfort turns strangers into new friends.
H/T: CBS Evening News