NYC Taxi Driver Photographed His Passengers For 30 Years

Once upon a time, a street photographer came to New York from California in 1980, aiming to be famous. He was unemployed and trying to get money for his rent. Later, his taxi driver neighbor encouraged him to become one. So he started driving the taxi and gaining money to cover his needs.

He was Ryan Weideman, combining both of his jobs and creating his cab into a “part-time photography studio”. In his first week, he saw the potential and captured photographs of his passengers for over 30 years.

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Weideman shared his ideas with these words: “So many interesting and unusual combinations of people getting into my cab. Photographing seemed like the only thing to do. The backseat image was constantly in a state of flux, thronged with interesting looking people that were exciting and inspired, creating their own unique atmosphere.”

Sometimes he wanted permission, sometimes the flashlight “accidentally” went off. One of the passengers was a famous person, Allen Ginsberg, Beat Generation poet. And the photograph of him is now in the Brooklyn Museum.

Self-Portrait with Passenger Allen Ginsberg, 1990

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Ruby Duby Do, 1982

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8 Punk Rockers [with Ad-Rock from the Beastie Boys], 1982

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In the Shadows, Lower East Side, 1992

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You Put Me on Ecstasy When You Ride Next to Me, 1982

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