I recently came across this book: Drive-By Shootings. Photographs by a New York Taxi Driver by David Bradford.

It’s an interesting concept: an Art Director at Saks Fifth Avenue quits his job and takes up driving a taxi. While driving the taxi he takes the opportunity to take pictures of all and sundry: passengers, people in the street, buildings etc.

The book itself consists of a very large number of black and white images divided into five sections: A Day; At Night; Another Day; A Rainy Night and Day; Snow, Day and Night. Interspersed within the pictures are short pieces of text generally talking about the life of a New York City Taxi Driver.

To be honest I have not always been a fan of Street Photography. Most of the examples I see seem to be very ordinary pictures of people going about their lives. However, after looking more closely at the work of Gary Winogrand, Lee Friedlander, Joel Meyrowitz, Henri Cartier Bresson, André Kertész, Brassi, Doisneau and, of course, Robert Frank I’ve come to appreciate it more.

Unfortunately, I find most of the pictures in this book to be quite ordinary. At first it was fun to browse through them but after a while it became tiring. And there are way too many of them. One of the most impressive photobooks of the 20th Century is, of course, Frank’s “The Americans”. I gather that in the course of his road trip Frank took approx. 27,000 images and then condensed them into 83 in the final work. The present book could benefit from similar discipline.

So to me it’s a moderately interesting book, with too many fairly ordinary photographs. It was fun to browse through, but I wouldn’t pay the $45 that Amazon.com is asking for it.

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