THE UBER IMPACT
There is no denying that the arrival of Uber across the cities of the world has made an impact. Whilst this might be perceived as widely positive for the consumer, for existing communities and infrastructure, in particular taxi services, the opposite would appear to apply. As a photographer I have a passion for people, their journeys and their stories, and witnessing the arrival and impact of Uber in my home city of London drove a desire to delve past the clickbait headlines and meet those on the front line of this most tangible technology-based invasion.
The Uber saga represents more than just a revolution in the taxi industry, it symbolises a wider conundrum that our generation will continue to encounter as the great tech-revolution accelerates. The streamlined efficiency that technology brings to our lives may employ a host of educated, skilled developers on short term contracts, however it simultaneously pushes others further to the periphery as it impacts their livelihoods. As a society should we simply accept the introduction of new tech by default? Is there a line to be drawn? Should we give greater consideration to the lives of those its introduction may impact? Or, should we stop moaning and accept change - diversify and appreciate where we are today thanks to centuries of embracing innovation and progress, despite its damaging effect on pre-existing industries?
I encountered taxi drivers across six significant cities in our ever-shrinking world: New York, Paris, Cape Town, Johannesburg, London and Rome. All officially licensed by their respective cities, many of my subjects had paid a high price for the honour of carrying out their trade. Strong opinions on Uber were far from scarce and naturally there were local cultural factors to be considered. The Uber Impact is about bringing human faces to the forefront of the argument. In this story, the efficiency, simplicity, cost savings to consumers and the various other perks are irrelevant - this is a platform to project just a handful of voices from across the world, whose lives are being directly impacted by Uber’s arrival.
The power of portraiture provides the viewer with a visual insight into the lives of real people doing their best to make a living whilst suffering the consequences of decisions made by those sitting far from the driver’s seat of a taxi.