Photographer captures 30 years of driving a taxi in New York’s nightlife
Ryan Weideman, a now acclaimed street photographer, drove a New York City taxi for decades and documented his life on the road.
After watching the film Midnight Express, Weideman packed his bags and headed to the Big Apple armed only with a suitcase packed with clothes and a camera hanging around hid neck.
His ambition, of course, was to make it as a photographer and live out his dream. New York, in the 1970s, was grimy and riddled with crime but with that came the congregation of a diverse collection of personalities. Knowing how hard life can be in New York City, Weideman landed a job driving a taxi through the night in bid to earn ends meet.
“I drove a Checker cab but I usually got the wrecks because I only drove three or four nights a week,” he recalls in an interview with Huck. Not willing to let his photographic ambition slip by, the photographer decided to take along his camera to document some of the nighttime antics. “I spent the rest of the time in my darkroom, printing and developing film,” he added.
“After the first week as a taxi driver, I started photographing”, he told La Vanguardia. “There were so many interesting and unusual combinations of people entering my taxi.”
He added: “The image of the back seat was constantly moving, full of interesting, exciting and exciting people, creating a unique atmosphere.”
Remembering his excitement as his cabbie takes took precedent into the ’80s, Weideman continued: “I was on the edge of my seat most of the time because I was caught up in the rush of the ride.
“It was all the adrenalin that flowed from my driving style. I enjoyed the thrill of driving and the sense of competitiveness. Some people really loved it; others were scared and wanted out so I would have to drop them off. Once in a while I would have a passenger that really enjoyed it. One guy jumped out of the cab and said, ‘My God, that was a religious experience!’”