David Bradford isn’t your average New York City taxi driver. His days “at the office” are directed by the skill that sets him apart from other taxi drivers: he’s a photographer. Bradford’s canvas is New York City as he sees it throughout his day, from a behind-the-steering-wheel vantage point. He has published several books, most notably “Drive-By Shootings: Photographs by a New York City Taxi Driver,” and he was recently the subject of a New York Moment video, featured above.
Bradford started out as a visual artist with an emphasis on drawing from photographs and a degree from Rhode Island School of Design in illustration. When he moved to NYC after graduating college, he began photographing NYC, originally as fodder for his drawings. But Bradford soon discovered that his photographs stood as pieces on their own and began pursuing the art form.
%Slideshow-79433%When Bradford began working as an art director for Saks Fifth Avenue fashion shoots, he experienced swift success with images appearing in the New York Times and other national magazines. After devoting a decade to this type of work, Bradford decided to go freelance, hoping to devote more of his time toward his personal art. When he responded to an ad for taxi drivers, he had intended to use the job as a means to an end and spend his free time working on his own pursuits. However, according to Bradford, he realized on the first day of the job, as he sat inspired behind the steering wheel and saw NYC in motion, that he would have to combine his photography with his work.
His photographs from the taxi, much like his initial art, were turned into drawings in the beginning. But Bradford discovered the medium of the camera all over again.
“I was on the lookout for truth and beauty with interesting light. With the right light, anything can be beautiful,” he said to me in an email. “This city is like a moody person. So I shoot her right back and capture that vibration.”
[Photo Credit: David Bradford]