Taxi driver's snaps become centre of new exhibition
this cabbie no longer has to ask fares to guess who he had in the back of his taxi.
Because driver and keen photographer Ryan Walls takes pictures of his passengers and posts them on social media.
And his snapping sideline has been so successful, Ryan has an upcoming exhibition and book launch.
“I love taking pictures and interacting with people,” said Ryan, 42. “I love art as well and wanted a way of blending my photography with my job.”
Willing models have included tourists, a hen party, football fans, a chef, a high court judge and a TV agony aunt all the way from Kuwait.
“I’ve asked 103 people and 101 said ‘yes’,” said Ryan. “The only two who said ‘no’ either didn’t have time or were having a bad hair day. It was an overwhelmingly positive response.”
Father-of three Ryan, from Tranent, documented 101 journeys for 16 days during festival season in 2015 for his Edinburgh People project.
“I make a point of chatting with all my customers, or at least I try to,” he said.
“Some people just want to switch off when they’re in a cab – watch their iPad, make a phone call, just gaze out the window deep in their own thoughts, which is fine.
“But where possible, I chat to my customers. And for the most part, people like to chat. You’d be amazed at what is divulged to a taxi driver.
“I’ve been used as careers advisor, political adviser, holiday adviser, ‘what part of Edinburgh should I move to next?’ adviser and, once, ‘I’ve put this red dress on but I’ve got this gold one in my bag, which do you think is best?’ fashion adviser.”
An exhibition of 33 of Ryan’s images will showcase at Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Dalmeny Street, in August while all 101 photos will feature in an accompanying book.
Former salesman Ryan turned to taxi driving after being made redundant twice in nine months.
“It hit me even harder the second time,” he said. “The financial pressure was immediate – I hit a personal low when I had to ask to borrow money from my dad to support my family. It felt horrible.”
So Leith-born Ryan enrolled in taxi training school in 2010 and was soon hitting the road picking up passengers
“I’ll never forget my first fare – not because it was a memorable fare but because it was my first,” he said.
“I was so nervous I can’t remember if I even spoke to her, I’ve certainly made up for it since though.”
And Ryan’s project is picking up a steady following on social media. Angie Harkins posted on Instagram: “Wonderful love your idea and fantastic wee stories makes your photographs even more interestingly brilliant. Hope I manage to flag you down.”