Photos on Pages Volume 1: Taxi Driver by Steve Schapiro

2011-09-23 9

As analogue lovers, there’s no telling in how much we adore film photographs. Seeing one’s shots on actual prints and compiled in a book brings visual elation and self-gratification. Photos on Pages is a new series which features photo-books by great photographers. In this first volume, the spotlight is on Steve Schapiro and his exclusive photography for Taxi Driver.

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Featured Book/s: Taxi Driver and Taxi Driver / The Godfather
Featured Photographer: Steve Schapiro
Category: cinema, behind the scenes
Publication: November 2010 and February 2011, respectively

Taxi Driver is considered to be one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces to date. Filmed in 1976, Martin Scorsese and Robert de Niro merged powers and talent to create a magnificently vicious film which would influence generations of filmmakers and inspire millions of audience around the globe. Having filmed Mean Streets three years earlier, Marty and Bobby’s tandem conspired effortlessly and the output became one of the most favorited cult classics of all time.

Robert de Niro portrayed Travis Bickle, an ex-Marine, trigger-happy cabbie-turned-psychopath with a badass mohawk. Set in New York City, Travis roamed around her filthy streets with his yellow cab. A 12-year young Jodie Foster, as Iris, starred as a prostitute who works for a pimp played by Harvey Keitel. Scorsese also had a “frightening” cameo appearance in the film as one of Travis’ late night passengers.

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Taxi Driver and its cinematography, especially to film buffs, is ever-delightful to watch. Its beginning is ornamented with unfocused yet mesmerizing city night lights (what we call bokeh in the photographic realm). The protagonist’s first person point of view narration adds eroticism to the plot’s evolving and intense violence. Throughout the movie, its musical score opposes the cacophony of the city’s “scum” — the melodic saxophone and jazzy drumbeats indicate contradicting emotions and realities. Its entirety is a rattling mixture: crime thriller and noir genres rolled into a single 2-hour reel.

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This year marks the 35th anniversary of the iconic Taxi Driver. And since it has long been regarded as a cinematic milestone, to immortalize its most momentous scenes in film photographs and prints is definitely a must.

A million thanks to *Steve Schapiro* — the special photographer on the set of Taxi Driver because he captured, not only Travis Bickle’s deranged persona but also, the unseen scenarios and the actors behind the director’s camera — giving the whole world a chance to get a rare glimpse of Scorsese’s ambitious contribution in the paradise of cinema in the form of, not just one but two, amazing photo-books:

1) Taxi Driver. This 328-page limited edition, hard-bound, clamshell-boxed, signed by Schapiro himself, only has 1000 copies. This book is priceless (graced with a foreword by the genius Scorsese and adorned with the images of a youthful de Niro) and, at the same time, pricey (each book costs US$ 700!). Nevertheless, film aficionados and vintage connoisseurs will definitely go crazy to get their hands and eyes on this gem!

Steve Schapiro © images via

2) Taxi Driver / The Godfather. Before Schapiro photographed the set of Taxi Driver, he was also the special photographer for Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, giving him exclusive access to one of the most amazing cast ever assembled. However, in this book, the first half contains the seminal stills of Taxi Driver.

Steve Schapiro © (screenshots via

“Many of the great actors I’ve photographed maintained their characters persona while the camera was rolling, then quickly dropped back into being themselves upon hearing “cut.” Robert de Niro was so intensely into the character of Travis Bickle, both physically and mentally, that I never doubted I was photographing Travis himself, whether the camera was rolling or not." (Steve Schapiro)

Which of these gritty Taxi Driver photographs by Steve Schapiro strike your liking the most? What other photo-books by well-known photographers would you like to get featured in the Analogue Lifestyle? Let us know through a comment below. Stay tuned for the next volume of Photos on Pages!

Read more editorial articles about taxi cabs right here on Lomography’s Magazine!

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written by basterda on 2011-09-23 #steve-schapiro #lifestyle #taxi-driver #films #travis-bickle #books #series #martin-scorsese #robert-de-niro #taxis #photos-on-pages


  1. mikahsupageek
    mikahsupageek ·

    Taxi Driver, one of my favorite movies of all times !!! Here's a little tribute for those who haven't seen it yet:…

  2. explorette
    explorette ·

    great article!

  3. johan34370
    johan34370 ·

    Nice article!! Tremendous movie indeed and great photos!

  4. carloscampos
    carloscampos ·

    You talking to me?
    I want these awesome books!

  5. takezzo
    takezzo ·

    i love that scene "puff-puff" scene in the end. it really blew me away...

  6. olen
    olen ·

    "Are you talkin' to me?"

  7. lucaro
    lucaro ·

    Excelent! :)

  8. basterda
    basterda ·

    Thanks, everyone!

  9. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    great article. recently seen it once more on tv and yes, the movie subject is still very actual, I'm start to realize how much the view of these films (great 70's movies in general) influenced me as a photographer.

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