Complete Strangers Pose For Intimate Portraits To Manifest The Beauty Of Human Connection

Enter as strangers, leave as friends.

As kids, we are constantly reminded of "stranger danger." And while it does make sense for children to stay alert around unfamiliar people, some argue it might be hurting us in adulthood.

According to professor of psychology Elizabeth Dunn, "human beings are built for social interaction" and there are many benefits to gain from conversing with random people. Dunn says chatting with strangers boosts our mood and makes us feel happier, not to mention it creates ties with new, interesting people we wouldn't meet otherwise.

This ideology is beautifully documented by photographer Richard Renaldi in his ongoing project, Touching Strangers.

"Touching Strangers" dates back to 2007 when Renaldi began approaching complete strangers and asking them to pose for a portrait together.

Renaldi pushes his subjects outside of their comfort zone by asking them to physically interact in front of the camera — touch, embrace each other.

The photographer admits he wants the kind of communication that people are usually taught to reserve for their close friends and loved ones.

"They're not exactly sure what they just signed up for, and people are a little nervous at first," Renaldi told CBS News.

Although these relationships are short and fleeting, the resulting photographs bear a powerful message about human connection.

Renaldi's subjects admit that partaking in his photo shoot resulted in positive feelings and even made them care for each other.

Poetry teacher Brian Sneeder, who posed with a 95-year-old retired fashion designer, says he "felt like it brought down a lot of barriers."

Check out more of Renaldi's photographs below and don't forget to lend a smile to the next stranger you see!