BEHIND THE WHEEL IN LOS ANGELES

A taxi driver’s photographic journey through the City of Angels. http://slate.me/1UanLD2
  1. Erik Hagen moved to L.A. from New York City in 2009.
    Without a life plan, he started driving taxis.
  2. He’d studied photography at the Rhode Island School of Design, but for many years his camera gathered dust.
    On a whim, he decided to start taking pictures from the front seat of his car.
  3. When he got the film back, he knew he’d stumbled onto something bigger.
    For the next five and a half years, he shot whenever he could.
  4. It wasn’t always an easy process, says Hagen.
    “There’s lots of film that was completely useless. That said, sometimes it came back to me even better than I could have imagined.”
  5. His series “Los Angeles” depicts the intense isolation of a cab driver’s life.
    In a typical week, he’d spend 60 hours behind the wheel.
  6. “People think of L.A. as a paradise, as glitzy. They think of Hollywood. But when you drive a taxi you’re not part of that.”
  7. Some of the photos were taken on Hagen’s days off, as he strolled around the city.
  8. Still, they capture a similar film noir aesthetic.
  9. Hagen now lives in Delaware, and while he doesn’t miss driving a cab, the West Coast still holds some appeal to him.
  10. “One winter back and I already miss Los Angeles.”