Ah, taxi drivers. They see some shit don’t they? When they’re not hearing the immortal questions; ‘been busy tonight?’ ‘what time you on til, drive?’ They are witnessing the human condition at its astrological highs, and its coated-in-molten-lava-at-the-earth’s-core lows. I’m sure you’re able to remember some classic examples right now as I mention this, most likely in fragmented form with large amounts of blank space.
Whether it was arriving outside your house, opening the passenger door, and dragging your unconscious dead weight to your doorstep for your mother to find you – because her mother sense kicked in and woke her at some time after 5am and she’d heard a taxi stop – or driving you all the way to some petrol station just off an industrial estate in Merthyr somewhere because they trusted their sat-nav, that you most likely gave the wrong post code to, over your verbal directions and so left you to do drugs in the car whilst they asked for directions. They’ve seen it all.
One such taxi driver is Mike Harvey, a driver located in Swansea who alternated his years between taxi driving and using the money he’d earned to go travelling. A keen people watcher and observer, taxi driving was the perfect choice for funding his travelling. So much so that for one period of driving he decided to document his customers with photography. Essentially, he’d ask his passengers if they wouldn’t mind his snapping their photo in the back of his cab in exchange for a free journey.
Whilst Mike has some anecdotes – CPR, pregnant runaways, regular offers of drugs or participation in three-to-foursomes, etc. – his photos instead subtly capture all the walks of life in Swansea, all united by that simple need of a ride home after a great/heavy/heartbreaking/tiring night or day out. His photos are currently being exhibited, and he hopes to do more, but you can also check out his WEBSITE too.