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Richard Renaldi: Figure and Ground

Posted Sep 04 2006 12:00am


9 3/4 x 11 1/4 in. (24.8 x 28.6 cm)
156 pages
90 four-color images
Hardcover with jacket
ISBN-13: 978-1-59711-029-7
ISBN-10: 1-59711-029-9

$45.00; £25.00

American photographer Richard Renaldi is a photographer in love with looking. He searches for the brief encounter, that fleeting moment when a stranger opens his life to him and, consequently, to the viewer. Richard Renaldi: Figure and Ground is the artist's first monograph, and the next in a series of Aperture "first books" featuring the work of the photography world's rising stars. Drawn from a seven-year body of work, Figure and Ground is comprised of portraits and landscapes taken from coast to coast, across the United States. Together, they present a beautiful and compelling look at America's increasingly diverse social landscape. Renowned U.K. curator, Roger Hargreaves, writes the accompanying essay, comparing Renaldi's work to such masters of the American road trip as Stephen Shore, Walker Evans, and Robert Frank.

Renaldi is a contemporary artist who returns to the medium's nineteenth-century roots by using a cumbersome, old-fashioned 8-by-10 camera to makes his photographs. Yet, he scouts his locations just like a fashion photographer. After he spies someone that attracts him, he approaches the subject and asks permission to take the photograph. The result of the time-consuming and laborious process is an image that yields extraordinary detail and saturated color, giving the viewer a real sense of the person he has connected with during his brief encounter. Renaldi gets inside his subject's skin.

Renaldi photographs ordinary Americans and the places in which they live and work. His subjects are often taking a break from a mundane job or are in transit waiting for a bus to take them on a long journey. The cross section of people he photographs challenges the viewer's perception of what defines America. He photographs a young blond woman at a greyhound bus terminal in Philadelphia on route to Los Angeles; a woman in a burqa and Timberland boots standing on a street in Newark, N.J.; a bodybuilder in Venice, California; a rodeo cowboy in Nevada; and a young man in a tattoo parlor in 29 Palms, California. In each Renaldi portrait, the collaborative act between subject and photographer is palpable; and there is a high degree of humanism in the work.   

Richard Renaldi graduated from New York University with a bachelor of fine arts in photography in 1990. His work has been included in numerous group shows, including Strangers: The First International Center of Photography Triennial of Photography and Video, New York, and the traveling exhibition Pandemic: Facing AIDS. His work will be the subject of a solo exhibition at Yossi Milo Gallery, New York, in January 2007.

Roger Hargreaves
is an independent curator and a founding editor of the Journal of Photography and Culture (SAGE Publications, 2007), based at the Photography and the Archive Research Centre at London College of Communication. He is a contributor to Photoworks magazine and the Sunday Times Magazine. His previous publications include The Beautiful and the Damned, winner of the 2002 Kraszna-Krausz Book Award for photography. 

Aperture—a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to advancing photography in all its forms—was founded in 1952 by six gifted individuals: photographers Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Barbara Morgan, and Minor White; historian Beaumont Newhall; and writer/curator Nancy Newhall. With scant resources, these visionary artists created a new periodical, Aperture magazine, to serve photographers and photography enthusiasts worldwide. As the medium flourished, so too did Aperture Foundation, expanding to include the subsequent publication of books (over four hundred to date); limited-edition photographs and portfolios; artist lectures and symposia; and a traveling exhibitions program that since its inception has presented over one hundred exhibitions at major museums and cultural institutions throughout the United States and abroad.

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