Essay by Roger Hargreaves.
Published by Aperture
Though he works with an omnivorous 8x10 camera, Richard Renaldi has the roving eye of a street photographer, always searching for the brief encounter, the fleeting moment when a stranger will open his or her life to him, and, consequently, to the viewer. Richard Renaldi's Figure and Ground, drawn from more than seven years of work, presents portraits, landscapes and, most importantly, the portraits in situ that meld those two classic photographic genres, in which he embraces not only individuals but the environment that encompasses them. These images were made across the United States, and take in not only those who might seem traditionally American-a blonde carrying a Louis Vuitton bag through a Greyhound terminal, or a rodeo cowboy, arms akimbo, standing determinedly against an all-dirt horizon-but also a woman in a burqa and Timberland boots on a faded Newark street and a transgender girl working a fast-food counter under the sad-glamorous glow of fluorescent lighting. If there is truly a center to the changing American social landscape, it can be found here, in these precisely rendered portraits.
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