Photographer Matthew Joseph examines the impact of Uber around the world

The Uber Impact © Matthew Joseph

Aggrieved and listless faces stare defiantly at the camera in photographer Matthew Joseph’s latest series, examining the impact that Uber has had on local taxi drivers and their businesses across New York, Paris, Cape Town, Johannesburg, London and Rome.

A revolution in technology it may be, but at what cost? This a question that Joseph’s work begins to answer, discontent sketched into every crevice of a driver’s face as each photographic portrait sits alongside a quote. "Ubers are like cockroaches," one proclaims, a bitter and poignant statement that all too aptly describes the reality of Uber’s stranglehold over the world’s traditional taxi system.

As a photographer, Joseph has a passion for people and the journeys that they take, including all of the stories they carry with them. With the arrival of Uber in London and the vast impact that the company continues to have in the capital, Joseph was driven by a desire to explore beyond the clickbait headlines and meet those whose lives had been impacted by Uber first-hand.

Talking with and photographing taxi drivers across six significant cities, from New York to Cape Town, The Uber Impact brings to light questions around how developments in this multinational corporation filter down and cause significant issues for those who have worked as taxi drivers for generations. Should we give greater consideration to the lives of those affected, or should we embrace this technological change?

"Many of the subjects have paid a high price for their trade, training for years to become experts of each route and side street and often laying down large sums of money for the medallion or insignia that registers them for trade," explains Joseph.

"From a consumer standpoint, the rise of Uber seems largely superlative, a case study of supply and demand. Feeling tired? Order an Uber. Visiting a friend? Take an Uber. It’s a mantra that seems whispered on the winds of change, but it is a wind that has whipped into a frenzied tornado of frustration and loss for these drivers, whose source of income has been irrevocably damaged.

"As with all evolution, one could argue that fortune favours the strong, but here we see a strength sapped from the lifeblood of a proud people, those who have existed for generations on providing a fundamental service to those in need of getting from point a to point b. The influence that Uber has had on the taxi cab industry is written on every face in Joseph’s profound photographic portraiture series, exploring the true impact of the controversial conglomerate giant and questioning the cost of technological revolution."

London-based Matthew Joseph is an award-winning photographer whose commercial work sees him shooting across the advertising, editorial and corporate industries for brands, creative agencies and publications. Find out more at matthewjoseph.co.uk.

“Look in the back of my cab - see that, that’s my window cleaning gear. I have been forced to take up a second job to make this work since Uber came along. I’m so angry at TfL - they could stop it tomorrow. I get it, they’re cheap, but I’d never let my daughter or wife use one - there are way too many horror stories about Uber drivers and the amount of accidents they cause." - Craig, London. The Uber Impact © Matthew Joseph

“Look in the back of my cab - see that, that’s my window cleaning gear. I have been forced to take up a second job to make this work since Uber came along. I’m so angry at TfL - they could stop it tomorrow. I get it, they’re cheap, but I’d never let my daughter or wife use one - there are way too many horror stories about Uber drivers and the amount of accidents they cause." - Craig, London. The Uber Impact © Matthew Joseph

“No one owns me - I’ve been my own boss doing this for 34 years, free and independent. Uber don’t have the right to work here - if I went to Florence with my licence as a driver from Rome, the taxi drivers in Florence are going to be really pissed at me! I would be stealing their jobs from under their noses. As a taxi driver from Rome I work here and pay my taxes here in Italy, Uber doesn’t pay its taxes here and they don’t even need a licence! We’ve fought them in court because they don’t play by the rules but it’s not progressing anywhere, it’s completely unfair way of competing. We’re not giving up though…” - Aldo, Rome. The Uber Impact © Matthew Joseph

“No one owns me - I’ve been my own boss doing this for 34 years, free and independent. Uber don’t have the right to work here - if I went to Florence with my licence as a driver from Rome, the taxi drivers in Florence are going to be really pissed at me! I would be stealing their jobs from under their noses. As a taxi driver from Rome I work here and pay my taxes here in Italy, Uber doesn’t pay its taxes here and they don’t even need a licence! We’ve fought them in court because they don’t play by the rules but it’s not progressing anywhere, it’s completely unfair way of competing. We’re not giving up though…” - Aldo, Rome. The Uber Impact © Matthew Joseph

“I enjoy my job very much - have been doing this for 23 years! I love meeting different people every day and business has always been good. Then Uber shows up and I see them picking up all the people that we used to - everyone’s standing outside on their phones, waiting for Uber to arrive. How can they charge such little money? I don’t get it. I’m very much angry towards the drivers - how they drive, how they operate - they just stop in the middle of the road! There’s no way we can work together.  Taxi drivers are selling off their permits and I think it’s going to get worse. But I would never go to Uber. If they kill us off and they take my vehicle I don’t know what I’d do instead.” - Toyer, Cape Town. The Uber Impact © Matthew Joseph

“I enjoy my job very much - have been doing this for 23 years! I love meeting different people every day and business has always been good. Then Uber shows up and I see them picking up all the people that we used to - everyone’s standing outside on their phones, waiting for Uber to arrive. How can they charge such little money? I don’t get it. I’m very much angry towards the drivers - how they drive, how they operate - they just stop in the middle of the road! There’s no way we can work together. Taxi drivers are selling off their permits and I think it’s going to get worse. But I would never go to Uber. If they kill us off and they take my vehicle I don’t know what I’d do instead.” - Toyer, Cape Town. The Uber Impact © Matthew Joseph

“I’m an immigrant here, I arrived from Bangladesh eight years ago in search of a better life. It’s a hard life living in Brooklyn and supporting my wife and kids - I’ve been driving a yellow cab for four years working 10-12 hours a day. I’m not angry at Uber but it is bad for yellow cabs, they’re taking away business from us and the traffic is getting worse and worse.” - Salim, New York. The Uber Impact © Matthew Joseph

“I’m an immigrant here, I arrived from Bangladesh eight years ago in search of a better life. It’s a hard life living in Brooklyn and supporting my wife and kids - I’ve been driving a yellow cab for four years working 10-12 hours a day. I’m not angry at Uber but it is bad for yellow cabs, they’re taking away business from us and the traffic is getting worse and worse.” - Salim, New York. The Uber Impact © Matthew Joseph

“People like the cheaper transport and Uber is cheap - cheap like buying bread! I used to have 11-12 trips a day, now, since Uber, it’s more like 6-7. But Uber drivers are brothers of Africa - I can’t do anything to them, the problem is the owner of Uber. The government of South Africa are very, very dumb - it is they who have caused the problem - Zuma is like Mugabe!   I would like to say this to the head of Uber: ‘Uber must go back to San Fransisco. They are not welcome - they are bulldozing our business and they are like an octopus that wraps their arms around you.’ People are saying ‘we would rather die’ … what’s the point!” - Michael, Johannesburg. The Uber Impact © Matthew Joseph

“People like the cheaper transport and Uber is cheap - cheap like buying bread! I used to have 11-12 trips a day, now, since Uber, it’s more like 6-7. But Uber drivers are brothers of Africa - I can’t do anything to them, the problem is the owner of Uber. The government of South Africa are very, very dumb - it is they who have caused the problem - Zuma is like Mugabe! I would like to say this to the head of Uber: ‘Uber must go back to San Fransisco. They are not welcome - they are bulldozing our business and they are like an octopus that wraps their arms around you.’ People are saying ‘we would rather die’ … what’s the point!” - Michael, Johannesburg. The Uber Impact © Matthew Joseph

“Us black cab drivers hate Uber…but we blame a lot of the issues on TfL. We have to follow all these rules and regulations then Uber come along and are given free reign, it’s just not fair. It helps of course when the head of Uber in the UK is God Parent to Cameron’s kids! Uber has a dark side - they have money heavily invested by huge corporations, a massive legal team, they’ve got clout which makes them think they can do what they want.” - Oscar, London. The Uber Impact © Matthew Joseph

“Us black cab drivers hate Uber…but we blame a lot of the issues on TfL. We have to follow all these rules and regulations then Uber come along and are given free reign, it’s just not fair. It helps of course when the head of Uber in the UK is God Parent to Cameron’s kids! Uber has a dark side - they have money heavily invested by huge corporations, a massive legal team, they’ve got clout which makes them think they can do what they want.” - Oscar, London. The Uber Impact © Matthew Joseph