About photobooks – old and new.
Author: Ryan Weideman
Title: In My Taxi – New York After Hours
Published by Thunder’s Mouth Press in 1991
8vo, softcover photographically illustrated
Ryan Weideman an award-winning photographer, became a taxi driver to pay the bills when he first arrived to NYC in 1980. For nine years, he used his cab as a portrait studio, documenting New York after hours. While driving his cab during the night shift, Ryan decided to photograph his clients in the backseat of this cab with humor, boldness, and precision, as described by Allen Ginsberg who once was also his passenger. As one can imagine, especially having in mind Scorsese’s film “After Hours”, late at night in a cab, in the 1980s, it could only be a human zoo. From models to poets, hookers to drag queens, celebrities to pet snakes, a wide range of NY characters were photographed in Ryan’s cab.
Ryan’s experiences also recalls us that the New York zoo is full of civility. He explains that “late one night, a girl gets into my taxi on the UES, and wants to go to Brooklyn. As we get to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, she announces. ‘I don’t have any money. My boyfriend will pay when we will get there.’ I am not the least bit worried, because we’re having a good conversation and I fell good about her. When we arrive the fare is $18. It’s after 2:00 am when she knocks on the boyfriend’s door, and no one answers. She gets back in the cab and head back to Manhattan. The taxi fare is approximately $30. I leave her my name and address, and a week later I receive a check for the full amount, plus tip.”
This book shows Ryan’s creativity, who was able to use to his own advantage his nighttime job and develop a unique perspective on NYC. At one point, he decided to innovate his approach by including himself in the pictures (see picture of the book cover). A more autobiographical approach, recording his own experiences in the cab, as he explains in the introduction.