The Uber Impact has been a personal project in the making since November 2016, and today I am proud to finally release it to the public. This has been a project involving planning and spontaneity in equal measure and has taught me a lot about the world/life/culture/politics in the process.
The above image was the very last shot of the day before I finished shooting in Joburg. I was literally running for my train to get to the airport so I could catch my flight to Cape Town, but when I saw these two guys ( Peter and Elias) I simply had to chat to them. I'd asked them previously about being involved in the project but they weren't interested as they were very wary of 'BBC journalists' (as a white European you're often flying the flag by default) reporting on them and them ending up in the news etc.
"I used to be a photographer for the SA associated press - I have seen many many bad things during the forced removals under Apartheid, which is why I do this now, a simpler life. But, now we have no cars. They were impounded by the police during a protest against Uber 3 weeks ago. Nearly 300 cars were impounded and the release fee is R3500 - this goes up every day. We are stuck."
I had to ask one more time. They were in this position when I saw them, I didn't move them - the pain and frustration on their faces is 100% authentic. The below is what Peter told me when asking him about his experience with Uber:
It really did sadden me to hear of their plight, especially at the end of a long day full of such stories. But a portrait series on taxi drivers... without their taxis (!!!) - this really did hit home. I had to have their story as part of the project - their testimony and expression has the power to portray the problem at the heart of The Uber Impact in just one image. I genuinely wish them both well and I really hope they manage to find a way to get back the tools of their trade so they can start making an honest living again.
Please click here to see the project in full. There may be more updates on the blog in the future - this is simply one image/story of 36 encounters across London, New York, Paris, Rome, Joburg and Cape Town. Please share it, tell your friends and let's continue the conversation about whether all tech-advancement is good for us and how convenience for you and me can sometimes have a negative effect further down the line.