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Eugene Salomon p3

Taxi driver and photographer Eugene Salomon talks about his daily routine and his working methods when taking photos of life on the streets of New York...

READERSVOICE.COM: What are some of the bad things you’ve seen happening as you’ve driven around?
GENE SALOMON: I once saw a man who failed to clean up after his dog, an atrocity that left an indelible imprint upon my psyche.  I’ve also eyewitnessed four incidents of a person being struck by a vehicle, a sickening sight that is sure to make you a better pedestrian, and I’ve been an earwitness to a murder (gunshots).

RV: Where do you live and what’s your daily routine? How do you get to work and where are the cabs kept?
GS: I live outside of Manhattan.  I take a commuter train into the city and walk about half a mile to my taxi garage on the West Side of Manhattan, where the cabs are kept.  I work the night shift, from 5 pm to 5 am, three nights per week.  While driving a twelve hour shift, the only break I take is for a cup of coffee at around 9 pm.  I carry my food and my camera with me in a backpack. 
RV: I especially like the photos of people on your blog, including the pictures of people in windows or silhouetted in doorways, or on cell phones. Do you stop your cab, or chase people, or have to turn around and go back to get them? 
GS: Thank you.  I have done all these things.  If I “chase” someone it would be unknown to that person, of course (hopefully – I wouldn’t want to intimidate anyone).  Most of my shots are taken while waiting at red lights or sitting in front of a location while waiting for a fare to arrive.  Late at night I may step out the cab to take some shots of something I find of interest.  Candid pictures of people who are not posing are my favorite kind of shot.

RV: The photos of homeless people you photographed were very good, like on January 6, 2012. I was just wondering which locations they can go to for aid, like from soup kitchens or charities.
GS: There are numerous city run shelters and privately run shelters in the city.  There is a church-run soup kitchen four blocks from where the shot on Jan. 6th was taken.
RV: Do accidents happen a lot with taxis, or other vehicles, like the crash you photographed on August 19, 2009, on 53rd St and 6th Avenue, or are they unusual?
GS: I understand that statistically speaking there are fewer accidents involving taxis than there are with regular cars.  However, with over 13,000 taxis on the streets 24/7, all in competition with each other, there are certainly accidents.  Most are relatively minor fender benders.  Accidents as serious as the one on Aug. 19th are quite infrequent.

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