As a taxi driver in the 70s and 80s, photographer Joseph Rodriguez captured the intensity of New York City from the driver’s seat. He talks to us about his childhood, learning from the greats, and his ‘get close’ mantra
Thirty years before anyone had heard of Uber or Lyft, Joseph Rodriguez—born, raised, and still living in Brooklyn—was driving a taxi in New York City. He was driving to put himself through school at the International Center of Photography after having kicked heroin. (“I got into cab driving,” he says, “because I was too weak to get a stand-up job.”)
Rodriguez drove a cab from 1977 to 1985, and in the last two of those years, he was studying to be a photographer. He lost his first set of gear in a classic ’70s New York stabbing and mugging, but with a new camera, he documented what he saw on the job.
Bevor Joseph Rodríguez’ Karriere als Dokumentarfotograf begann, verdiente er sein Geld als Taxifahrer: Durch sein Autofenster fotografierte er Passanten, Gäste, Szenen im New York der achtziger Jahre.
At the beginning of the nineties, Joseph Rodríguez documented the daily lives of gangsters at Boyle Heights in Los Angeles, using a Leica M2 and an M6. He speaks about the brothers Javier and Mark, whom he met while doing research for his East Side StoriesGang Life in East LA series, and what became of them.