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Be on the Lookout for Cabbie and Photographer David Bradford

The noted photographer and cab driver has published two books of his views from the front seat

He may be a cab driver now, but David Bradford — a noted New York-based photographer — has a long history of artistic endeavors. He moved to New York City in 1978 after graduating with a degree in illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design and became an art director for Saks Fifth Avenue, a position he held for a decade. After leaving Saks, Bradford became a freelance illustrator and designer. He started his taxi-cab driving career in 1990 so he could have more freedom to take on independent projects.

Not long after becoming a cabbie, Bradford began taking photographs from his cab to use as reference points for his illustrations. By 1993 he was snapping pictures for the sake of the photos themselves, creating a personal portrait of New York City from a unique vantage point: the front seat of a yellow cab. In 2000, Bradford published Drive-By Shootings, which sold out its first printing of 50,000 copies within three months. A second volume of photos, The New York Taxi Back Seat Book, followed in 2006, offering a more intimate view of the people who pass through the back seat of a taxicab in New York City.

Bradford continues to capture images of the city, most recently in the form of 15-second movies he shoots from the front seat of his cab with his cell phone’s video camera. The films are accompanied by a “soundtrack” (whatever music happens to be on the cab’s radio at the time) and published on his website as-is, with no post-production editing. Be on the lookout for Bradford; you never know when you might find yourself in his taxi, watching art made on the fly.

Our New York Moment series is a film journey that explores the unexpected moments that add up to the world’s greatest city. From the first man to illustrate a New Yorker magazine cover on an iPad to a musician who turns Times Square into his stage every day, see what makes the city tick through the eyes of the fascinating folks who live here. Click to see more.

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