TAXI by Joseph Rodriguez

Joseph Rodríguez is a Documentary photographer born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He studied photography in the School of Visual Arts and in the Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Program at the International Center of Photography in New York City. His series “TAXI” will soon be exhibited at the Galerie Bene Taschen.

Joseph Rodriguez
TAXI Series, Self Portrait
NY 1984
© Joseph Rodriguez
courtesy Galerie Bene Taschen

“As a documentary photographer for over 25 years, my point of view has been to work slowly when it is possible. The domestic landscape of America has been my interest for the past two decades. Today I continue to work within the social documentary practice, covering the struggles of everyday life.”

Joseph Rodriguez
TAXI Series, 220 West Houston
Street, NY 1984
© Joseph Rodriguez
courtesy Galerie Bene Taschen

New York in the 70s and 80s – Joseph Rodriguez sits behind the wheel of his taxi. During his shifts, he created his first photographic works, documenting everyday life from the perspective of a worker on the job. TAXI: Journey Through My Windows 1977 – 1987 takes viewers back 30 years to the past of the most famous metropolis in the world.

Joseph Rodriguez
Meatpacking District, Greenwich
Village, 1984
© Joseph Rodriguez
courtesy Galerie Bene Taschen

 

From his taxi, Rodriguez begins to capture the moments whizzing by with his camera. He goes from Manhattan to the Bronx, from Queens to New Jersey, from Brooklyn to Staten Island, from Downtown to Uptown, from the Meatpacking District to the East Village, and back to Midtown Manhattan. During his shifts as a traveling flaneurhe also witnesses the darker sides of life on the street.

Joseph Rodriguez
TAXI Series, Chelsea, NY 1984
© Joseph Rodriguez
courtesy Galerie Bene Taschen

His routes are unpredictable, as are the encounters that become his motifs. The taxi drivers gaze sees prostitutes waiting for customers, homeless people begging for a few cents, and the dreary facades of buildings that reach for the sky. Houses and cars fly by in the rearview and side mirrors; at the red light, a father pushes a stroller across the street. A peek into the back seat of the cab reveals his passengers: depending on the time of day or night, they could be well-heeled Upper East Siders, partygoers out on the town, or families en route to Sunday Mass.

Joseph Rodriguez
TAXI Series, Family going to
church, on a Sunday morning,
NYC 1984
© Joseph Rodriguez
courtesy Galerie Bene Taschen

Like the 1976 film classic Taxi Driver, Rodriguez captures the pulsating life of New York City in his images. Both these works – the feature film and the photographs – also bear witness to the fascinating aura of taxi drivers, who, in turn, use their cars as silent observation posts. Rodriguezs photographs convey the emotional complexity of the people he meets, and serve as a pinhole for the stories and insights jotted down in his diary. His images can be seen in the exhibition as silver gelatin prints.

For Rodriguez, who was once a self-described drug addict and criminal, photography saved his life.

Joseph Rodriguez
TAXI Series, Near the Port
Authority Bus Terminal,
Midtown, NY 1984
© Joseph Rodriguez
courtesy Galerie Bene Taschen

Joseph Rodriguez
TAXI Series, Outside the Vault, a popular S&M club, 1984
© Joseph Rodriguez
courtesy Galerie Bene Taschen

“...NYC was also a place of chaos and mayhem. Teetering on the brink of bankruptcy with rampant crime it was the city's drug users, dealers, and pimps and prostitutes who ruled the streets of Manhattan. The grittiness of the city was a beacon and a promise to many outsiders, those who didn't quite fit into any mold, and a vibrant LGBTQ community became the nexus of an underworld of sex workers who liked to party. For a NYC cabbie such as Joseph Rodriguez, the hot spots to pick up fares were clubs like the Hellfire, Mineshaft, The Anvil, The Vault, and Show World”. - Richard Price

Joseph Rodriguez
TAXI Series, New Jersey, 1984
© Joseph Rodriguez
courtesy Galerie Bene Taschen

Joseph Rodriguez
TAXI Series, East Village
NY 1984
© Joseph Rodriguez
courtesy Galerie Bene Taschen

Joseph Rodriguez
TAXI Series, A panhandler at Bowery and Houston,
East Village, NYC 1984
© Joseph Rodriguez
courtesy Galerie Bene Taschen

Joseph Rodriguez
TAXI Series, Birds over Midtown
1984
© Joseph Rodriguez
courtesy Galerie Bene Taschen

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About Joseph Rodríguez

Joseph Rodríguez is a Documentary photographer born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He studied photography in the School of Visual Arts and in the Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Program at the International Center of Photography in New York City.

Recent exhibitions of his work have appeared at Galleri Kontrast, Stockholm, Sweden; The African American Museum, Philadelphia, PA; The Fototeca, Havana, Cuba; Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Birmingham, Alabama, Open Society Institute’s Moving Walls, New York; Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery at the Walter Reade Theaterat the Lincoln Center; and the Kari Kenneti Gallery Helsinki, Finland.

In 2001 the Juvenile Justice website, featuring Joseph Rodriguez's photographs, launched in partnership with the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival High School Pilot Program.

Joseph teaches at New York University, the International Center of Photography, New York and has also taught at universities in Mexico and Europe, including Scandinavia.

Rodriguez won an Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship in 1993 photographing gang families in East Los Angeles.

 

Statement

As a documentary photographer for over 25 years, my point of view has been to work slowly when it is possible. The domestic landscape of America has been my interest for the past two decades. Today I continue to work within the social documentary practice, covering the struggles of everyday life. As Fred Ritchin, author and president of www.pixelpress.org wrote, “Photography too often confirms preconceptions and distances the reader from more nuanced realities. The people in the frame are often depicted as too foreign, too exotic, or simply too different to be easily understood.” I continue to tell stories that have had an effect on my life so that we can diminish this distance and develop a better understanding.

Represented by Bill Charles, New York, www.billcharles.com 

 

Awards and Grants

2013 Open Society Foundation, Documentary Photography Project Audience Engagement Grant
2010 New York Foundation for the Arts, Artists' Fellowship
2008 University of Southern California, Annenberg Institute for Justice and Journalism
2006 Open Society Katrina Media Fellowship
2003 Konstnarsnamden Stipendium, Swedish Arts Council, Sweden
2003 Dart Center for Trauma and Journalism Ochberg Fellowship
2001 Pictures of the Year International, Missouri School of Journalism
1999 Open Society Justice Media Fellowship Fund for Investigative Journalism, Washington, D.C.
1998 The Rockefeller Foundation, USA/Mexico Fund for Culture New York Foundation for the Arts, Artists' Fellowship
1997 California Council for the Humanities
1996 Pictures of the Year, National Press Photographers Association, Missouri School of Journalism
1995 Konstnarsnamden Stipendium, Swedish Arts Council, Sweden
1994 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship
1993
Alicia Patterson Fellowship, Washington, D.C.
Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography Konstnarsnamden
Stipendium, Swedish Arts Council, Sweden
1992
Fund for Investigative Journalism, Washington, D.C.
Pictures of the Year, National Press Photographers Association, Missouri School of
Journalism
1991 Konstnarsnamden Stipendium, Swedish Arts Council, Sweden
1990 Pictures of the Year, National Press Photographers Association, Missouri School of Journalism
Swedish International Development Agency Stipendium, Sweden
1989 Konstnarsnamden Stipendium, Swedish Arts Council, Sweden
Documentary Photography of the Year, Cincinnati, Ohio
1988 New York Foundation for the Arts, Artists' Fellowship

EDUCATION
1985 - Photojournalism/Documentary Diploma, International Center of Photography,
New York
1980 - Associate of Applied Science, New York City Technical College, New York
1973 - School of Visual Arts, New York

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS
2013 A Humanist Gaze, Hardhitta Gallery, Cologne, Germany
2012 Homegrown, Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography, University of La Verne, California
2012 Portraits from Another America, Taller Boricua Gallery, New York
2011 Mi Vida Loca, Third Floor Gallery, Cardiff, Wales, UK
2010 Cultural Memory Matters, 601Artspace Gallery, New York
2010 Festival Reportage, Pictures, Words and Stories, Atri Photography Festival, Atri, Italy
2010 Bodies in Question, New York Photo Festival 10, Brooklyn, New York
2010 Visual Citizenship, Institute for Public Knowledge, New York University, New York
2008 Flesh Life: Sex in Mexico City, Drkrm.Gallery, Los Angeles, California
2007 Engulfed by Katrina: Photographs Before and After the Storm, African American Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2006 Engulfed by Katrina: Photographs Before and After the Storm, New York
University, Tisch School of the Arts, New York
2005 Juvenile Justice, Galleri Kontrast, Stockholm, Sweden
2003 Imagenes Havana, Fototeca, Havana, Cuba
Beggars and Choosers, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Birmingham, Alabama
2001
Barrio in NYC and Gang Life in East LA, Galleria Kari Kenetti, Helsinki, Finland
Juvenile, Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery, Lincoln Center, New York
2000
East Side Stories Gang Life in East LA, Asbaek Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark
Moving Walls: Youthful Offenders in Silicon Valley, Open Society Institute, New York
Arte Latino: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, El Paso Museum of Art, Texas
The Way Home: Ending Homelessness in America, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
1999
Spanish Harlem/East Los Angeles, Selby Gallery, Ringling School of Art and Design, Florida Biennial, Torino, Italy
Under/Exposed, Subway Exhibition, Stockholm, Sweden 1998 Respekt, Stockholm Stadsmuseum, Sweden
A Summer Wedding, Leica Gallery, New York
1997 The Chain, Noorderlicht Gallery,
1996
Gangs in Los Angeles, Subway Exhibition, Foto Septiembre, Mexico
East Side Stories: Gang Life in Los Angeles, Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares,  Mexico City, Mexico
1995
Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography, Award Winners
Exhibition Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City, Mexico
We Look and See, University Art Museum, Berkeley, California
The East Side Story: L.A. Gangs, International Center of Photography,  New York. (Solo Exhibition)
The Art Directors Club 74th National /9th International Annual Exhibition,  New York
1994 Revir (Territory), Kulturhuset, Stockholm, Sweden
1993
Romania's Institutions, New York University Tisch School of the Arts, New York
Visual Relief, Tartt Gallery, Washington, D.C.
Romania's Institutions, Kulturhuset, Stockholm, Sweden
1992 The Kurds: The Forbidden People, Bibliotek, Uppsala, Sweden
1991 East Harlem, Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Kurds: The Forbidden People, Kulturhuset, Stockholm, Sweden
1990 Stockholm/New York, Fotograficentrum, Gothenburg and Stockholm, Sweden
1989 East Harlem, New Documentary USA, Images Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio
1988
Journey Through My Windows, Fotograficentrum, Gothenburg, Sweden  (Solo Exhibition)
El Barrio, International Center of Photography, New York (Solo Exhibition)
1987
El Dia de Los Muertos: Rural Traditions of the Day of the Dead, Mexican
Museum, San Francisco, California and Fort Worth Museum of Art, Fort Worth, Texas
East Harlem, An Audio/Visual Presentation, Festival Off, Le Forum Photo, Arles, France
1986
East Harlem: A Community Facing and Uncertain Future, Networks Gallery,
School of Art And Design, Chicago, Illinois

Taxi: Journey Through My Windows 1977-1987 (Hardcover)
Joseph Rodrigues
Published by powerHouse Books
ISBN: 9781576879313
ISBN-10: 1576879313
Publisher: powerHouse Books
Publication Date: December 22nd, 2020
Pages: 132
Language: English
The Economic Hardship Reporting Project provided funding to support Taxi: Journey Through My Windows 1977–1987.

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Exhibition TAXI Joseph Rodriguez

Opening: Friday, 11. Juni 2021, 13.00 – 21.00 Uhr
Saturday, 12. Juni 2021, 11.00 – 18.00 Uhr
Exhibition: 12. Juni – 31. Juli 2021 (only with appointment)

Galerie Bene Taschen
Moltkestraße 81
50674 Köln

About Bene Taschen Gallery: Founded in 2011 in Cologne, Bene Taschen Gallery represents some of the worlds leading artists in contemporary photography and painting. The gallery promotes its international artists through regular participation in major art fairs, such as Paris Photo and Art Cologne, as well as through its extensive exhibition program. In 2011 Bene TaschenGallery debuted with LA-based photographer Gregory Bojorquez. In 2013, the gallery began collaborating with New York-based photographer Joseph Rodriguez. Acclaimed Berlin-based photographer Miron Zownir joined the gallery’s roster in 2014, which expanded in 2015 to include Jamel Shabazz and Arlene Gottfried, both New York-based photographers. Since fall 2017, the gallery has been pleased to represent New York-based photographer Jeff Mermelstein and German painter Charlotte Trossbach. Since Fall/Winter 2019, the gallery has been working with renowned photographers Sebastião Salgado and Larry Fink.

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