I have a tendency to assume familiarity where there is none. I'll meet someone for the first time, and something in the person's face will lead me to believe I get them, and they get me--and bam(!), to quote the great Cori Laemmel, "we're totally in friend love."
Sometimes I'm right; we are totally in friend love. Just as often, however, the person reintroduces herself to me eight or nine times over the course of a year thereafter, refusing to believe we've met (AND FALLEN TOTALLY IN FRIEND LOVE!) before.
Still, moments of real intimacy and connection can happen between two strangers. And they would certainly happen more often if we were open to it.
Enter photographer Richard Renaldi and his gorgeous photo experiment "Touching Strangers".
Renaldi trolled the streets of New York with his camera and his intuition, looking for strangers who were willing to be photographed together, touching, as if they were family. The result is aesthetically stunning, but even more so was the effect of the project on its subjects.
Holding hands with a woman he'd never met, one man said, "I felt like I cared for her."
Another pair, two teens from the Bronx, made a love connection. “Afterward," Renaldi recalled, "He got her number."
As I wondered how it is that Renaldi's subjects look as if they belong to each other, a second realization set in. That is, they look as if they belong to each other because they do.
We all do. And what a world it would be if we could carry that idea in mind at all times--that we belong to each other, even when a photographer is nowhere in sight.