Richard Renaldi


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189 × 252 mm
176 Pages
59 Images(b/w)
103 Images(color)
ISBN 978-4-908512-22-3

Richard Renaldi made his first self portrait in 1978 when he was ten years old. Standing in the bathroom of his family's house in suburban Chicago, dressed in a rugby shirt and white chinos, arms folded, a young boy calmly appraises the camera. He parts his lips around his front teeth and ventures a hesitant grin. He waits for the timer to click. Thus begins the work of self-examination that will occupy him for the rest of his life. He continued documenting his childhood through the 1970s and 80s. He photographed the view out his bedroom window and balloons in the sky. He photographed his newly divorced mother applying lipstick in the mirror, her gaze fixed only on herself. He documented his teenage body as adolescence came into view with its new possibilities of sensuality and self-expression. He realized he wanted to be a model.
When he met his first boyfriend, an older man, while still a minor, he photographed him too. As he entered college and traveled the world, he brought his camera everywhere. He photographed his body prolifically as it developed, aspiring to the physique of Atlas. He could not will the fantasy into being. He studied himself with the camera for answers, as if the muscles he desired could be conjured from crystals of silver halide. He met handsome young men in Mexico City, New York, and Paris. He moved further into adulthood, the camera still present. The young boy of ten now lost beneath the accumulating layers of experience and love’s false starts. He got HIV but his health was well-managed and the illness not defining. He used steroids and the muscles came easily. He transformed himself into the object of desire he always wanted to be and he entered a relationship, at the age of thirty, an abiding love.
Decades go by. Wisdom accrues, or maybe it doesn’t. Such a thing is largely dependent on the weather and humidity. In the book’s final image, the young boy of ten looks at the camera. But now he is fifty years old. He is naked, standing alone in a beautifully lit, white room with a pitched roof and an unfinished floor. Youth has passed. He looks hesitantly into the camera. He waits for the timer to click.