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Press Release

Steve Schapiro
Taxi Driver

Book Available: Steve Schapiro: “The Godfather Family Album” (Taschen, 2010)

February 3 through March 19, 2011
Reception for the Artist, Thursday, February 3, 7-9 p.m.

The Fahey/Klein Gallery is pleased to present photojournalist Steve Schapiro’s behind the scenes photographs from the ground breaking American film, “Taxi Driver”. This exhibition is in conjunction with the release of the Limited Edition Taschen publication, “Taxi Driver”, which features never before published and rarely seen images from the film, directed by Martin Scorsese, which has become a milestone of American cinema.

During the Summer of 1975, Steve Schapiro worked as “Special Photographer” on the set of “Taxi Driver” and captured some of the most defining images from this film. The images included in this exhibition, and selected from Schapiro’s own archives, are more than film stills from a movie— they capture a palpable sense of tension, drama, and ultimately, shocking violence as the film portrays a deranged and increasingly paranoid New York City cab driver as he plots a political assassination in a gritty and unhinged post-Vietnam era, New York City.

In a recent interview, Steve Schapiro said of his experience working on the set of the film, “On ‘Taxi Driver”, there was this intrinsic mood. First of all, most of the shooting was at night, so there was this hovering feeling of darkness over everything. There was a degree of tension on the set, but it really was something which helped the actors get through it all. Bobby DeNiro had spent a month driving a taxi at night to get ready for this film. Really, he studied it so much that he really is that person. So, photographing him, it was really photographing Travis Bickle.”

“Taxi Driver” was released in 1975, the Bicentennial year after the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, and the obsessive media coverage of the assassination attempts on President Ford. The violence and intense drama captured in the film ultimately resonated with the mid 1970’s American audience. “Taxi Driver” went on to be nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Steve Schapiro also worked in Hollywood creating iconic movie stills for John Schlesinger's “Midnight Cowboy”, and Francis Ford Coppola's “The Godfather” (a selection of which will also be on view at Fahey/Klein Gallery). Steve Schapiro's photographs have graced the covers of prominent magazines including Life, Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times Magazine. Steve Schapiro’s first publication, “American Edge”, is a selection of reportage photographs from the 1960’s which “document the collective American psyche torn apart by the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Vietnam and the Civil Right Movement” (Arena Editions, 2000). In this publication, as well as Schapiro’s second publication, “Schapiro’s Heroes” (Powerhouse, 2007), Schapiro documents the New York Art Scene via Andy Warhol’s Factory crowd, the American South alongside James Baldwin, and the crowds following Bobby Kennedy as he toured the nation on his campaign trail. Steve Schapiro now lives and works in Chicago with his wife, Maura.