Matthew Joseph’s portraiture series shows Uber’s impact on local taxi drivers

LONDON-based photographer, Matthew Joseph’s latest series examines the impact that Uber has had on local taxi drivers and their businesses across New York, Paris, Cape Town, Johannesburg, London and Rome. The Uber Impact series features portraits of taxi drivers based in these capital cities, where Uber has taken their business. Joseph has a passion for telling stories and wanted to meet the individuals whose lives are continually impacted by Uber first-hand. Accompanying the images are quotes from the drivers, explaining their struggles.

Oscar, London, The Uber ImpactOscar, London, The Uber Impact. Photograph: Matthew Joseph

“Us black cab drivers hate Uber … but we blame a lot of the issues on TfL. We have to follow all these rules and regulations then Uber come along and are given free reign, it’s just not fair. It helps of course when the head of Uber in the UK is God Parent to Cameron’s kids! Uber has a dark side – they have money heavily invested by huge corporations, a massive legal team, they’ve got clout which makes them think they can do what they want,” says Oscar one of the drivers featured.

Peter (and Elias), Johannesburg, The Uber ImpactPeter (and Elias), Johannesburg, The Uber Impact. Photograph: Matthew Joseph

“I used to be a photographer for the SA associated press – I have seen many many bad things during the forced removals under Apartheid, which is why I do this now, a simpler life. But, now we have no cars. They were impounded by the police during a protest against Uber 3 weeks ago. Nearly 300 cars were impounded and the release fee is R3500 – this goes up every day. We are stuck,” Peter (and Elias)

Salim, New York, The Uber Impact Salim, New York, The Uber Impact. Photograph: Matthew Joseph

“I’m an immigrant here, I arrived from Bangladesh eight years ago in search of a better life. It’s a hard life living in Brooklyn and supporting my wife and kids – I’ve been driving a yellow cab for four years working 10-12 hours a day. I’m not angry at Uber but it is bad for yellow cabs, they’re taking away business from us and the traffic is getting worse and worse,” said Salim one of Joseph’s subjects.

Getting an Uber is regarded as a helpful low-priced convenience for people living in capital cities however the impact the technological advancement has had on taxi drivers is rarely acknowledged. The project prompts the question, should we give greater consideration to the lives affected, or should we to embrace this technological change?

by Tom Halford

See the whole series on Matthew Joseph’s website.

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