I attended the opening night artist reception for photographer Richard Renaldi at the Wessel + O'Connor Fine Art gallery in Lambertville, NJ, and came away appreciating how a portrait series can capture the more intimate side of travel photography.
In a series called Hotel Room Portraits 1999 - 2012, Renaldi and his partner Seth Boyd are the subjects, over time and throughout many cities and towns around the world, shot in revealing hotel room portraits. The range of work spans Renaldi's work in SLR to digital, shows the (slight) aging and changes (more tattoos on Renaldi) of the subjects over time, and capture the feel of a locale just by showing the interior of a hotel room.
When I saw Renaldi's hotel room exhibit, I was struck by its relationship with UK photographer Tom Robinson's Feet First series, capturing the feet of he and his wife Verity as they trekked around the world from 2005 to the present. As with Renaldi's series, Robinson captures change, adding the tiny and then growing feet of their daughter Matilda.
The beauty of travel photography is that is can be both intimate and evocative of time and place. Renaldi's focus is in the tight confines of a hotel room, but we can still learn much about the subjects, as well as the time and place. With Robinson's work, we leave the confines of a hotel room, but we still have portraiture of sorts and an intimacy outdoors.
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