Peter Donahoe, The Nightline, A Memoir of Work
The photographs in this series are from Peter Donahoe’s monograph, The Night Line, a Memoir of Work. It portrays Donahoe’s years driving a taxi cab in New York City [1981-83]. These were the last years of the Checker fleets and the onset of Reagan’s recession. It became impossible for Donohoe to find work as a photographer’s assistant that had been his livelihood. Anyone who had a driver’s license was getting a hack license to make a living. “We were the surplus labor population that got New Yorkers where they wanted to go.”
Driving a cab gave him the opportunity to meet the unexpected –sometimes dangerously so – never knowing where the next fare would take him. The streets of New York were his workplace and this gave him the opportunity to see the city thru every hour of the night and in all conditions.
(see bio below)
bio Photographer Peter Donahoe has exhibited widely and has been published in the US and France. Starting in social documentary photography he later turned to large format landscape work and now works exclusively with pinhole cameras This work has been included in the anthology ‘Le Stenope’ in the Photo Poche series published by Actes Sud, Paris. He has received numerous grants, has taught extensively and is in the collection of the Museum of the City of New York.
Donahoe’s book, The Night Line, was published by New Amsterdam Books in 1990 and, of the 90 images in the book, 25 were selected by the Museum of the City of New York for their permanent collection. It was seen as a unique description of working class life from the physical and social perspective of a cab driver. Some of these images have also been collected in ‘Taxi! A Social History of the New York City Cabdriver’ by Prof. Graham Russell Gao Hodges, Johns Hopkins Press.
He studied photography at Pratt Institute, worked as a freelance photographer in New York City and the Hudson Valley. He was also a New York City Police department photographer.