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Stranger Moments

What happens when two strangers meet, put down their phones, and have a real conversation?

How it works.

We came up with a simple formula that we repeat with every pairing. We introduce the strangers, ask them to spend one full minute of silence just looking at each other, and then we begin with some questions. We ask that they just speak to each other and not to the moderator, even though she’s the one throwing out the conversation topics.

“What kind of old person do you want to be?”

“What’s the last photo you took on your phone?”

“If you knew you were going to die in a year, what would you stop worrying about?”

And on and on.

When they’re done (which usually takes 45-50 minutes), one of the two photographers involved takes them somewhere else nearby for a small¬†portrait session. It’s amazing how comfortable many of them seem in the photos after such a short amount of time!

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Welcome to Stranger Moments

You have found us, a group of five friends who decided to curate and film a series of conversations between two complete strangers in Colorado Springs, just to see what would happen.

Stay tuned as we periodically upload our favorite clips, portraits, snapshots and musings on this little social experiment of ours…

So the thing is…

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Stranger handshake ūüôā

We had no idea what we were doing. ¬†We started out thinking we would pair up the most polarized people we could find. ¬†In an election year like 2016, that shouldn’t be too hard to find, right? ¬†Staunch Republican meets flaming Democrat. Gun rights activist sits down with a pacifist. Conservative evangelical Christian chats it up with a Muslim. ¬†Vegan and cattle farmer take a shot at common ground. ¬†Independent, small batch coffee roaster squares off with a Starbucks barista. ¬†You know, the front lines battlegrounds stuff.

The reality is, however, that people’s busy schedules defied our ideal pairings. ¬†Our little experiment became even more experimental, as we rolled with whomever could come shoot at the top of whichever hour we were shooting. ¬†If there was a no-show at 2 PM, well, there’s always that interesting looking guy in the coffee shop downstairs that we could ask… who may or may not have talked about hallucinating purple squirrels on a hike up Pikes Peak.

(photos courtesty of Jana Bussanich, one of our 5 teammates)

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Post-conversation portraits

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How Stranger Moments came to be…

In May of 2016, a photo came across my Facebook feed that caught my attention.  It turned out the be the work of Richard Renaldi, who has been photographing complete strangers interacting in ways that are usually reserved for close friends and loved ones since 2007.  His series has taken him to cities and towns all across the United States.  Renaldi sets up on sidewalks, using a large format eight-by-ten-inch view camera and invites the pair to interact and pose together for a portrait.  Find him at http://www.touchingstrangers.org.

In the way so many things on Facebook go (casual, impulsive, unassuming), I tossed out the idea on my page and said, “What if we did this here?”. ¬†It started with a small meeting over lattes at The Wild Goose, but in a matter of weeks, we had a team of five talented & visionary folks who helped shape an altogether new project we came to call Stranger Moments.

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His & Ours. 

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