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This New York taxi drivers’ 2017 calendar looks great, but makes a point too

Aren't they just lovely? You can order a copy now.

Written by Shreya Das | Kolkata | Updated: November 28, 2016 10:33 am
nyc-taxi-drivers-calendar-cover-759 Beyond looks: The calendar focuses on their lives, stories and what make New York special to them. (Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman)

Talk about the iconic yellow taxis and instantly pictures of two metropolitan cities would flash before your eye – New York and Calcutta. These public transports have been part of the cities’ character and mood since decades, and are often emblematic of these places as well. As interesting as these cabs are, the lives of those driving them are even more so.

After we’ve ‘ogled at’ and objectified the chaiwalas, tarkariwalis and security guards of the world, the time has come for the cab drivers. But thankfully, here the reason is more than skin deep.

(Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman) While some of these men have been featured in the calendar for more than one year, many are new to the project. Willam was part of 2016 edition too. (Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman)

Now, there is calendar available for sale that highlights beauty of taxi drivers of New York but not in the way the above notice has been highlighted. These photographs are a means to get an insight about their lives, their side of story that goes unheard. A city-based couple took upon the task of showing the beauty of these drivers but of their lives and souls not just physical characteristics.

Philip Kirkman and his wife Shannon McLaughlin started the project on their own using funds from their own pocket and even compensating the drivers for their time. Talking exclusively with the indianexpress.com, Kirkman informed, “The original idea came from a tongue-in-cheek calendar we made of my oldest brother as a Christmas gift to his wife/our sister-in-law back in 2012.” After their efforts were loved by family and friends they decided to expand their reach and target a larger audience.

(Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman) January: During summer months, Zaib runs extra air conditioning into the back seat via a dryer vent duct (a glimpse can be seen in the mirror in the picture). (Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman)

“Shannon and I brainstormed on how we could expand the idea for a larger audience. We considered other groups (e.g. sanitation workers), but ultimately landed on yellow cab drivers due to their iconic status, yet relative lack of visibility (or appreciation),” said Philip Kirkman in an email interview.

(Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman) February: Luis, who is featuring in the cover is quite charming in a the Valentine’s Day special month. (Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman)

The New York Taxi’s drivers’ calendar is not out for the first time; in fact, the project is four years old as their first project was launched in December 2013.

(Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman) March: Ali is adorable and looks classy in the geometric print shirts! (Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman)

Sharing about the experience and shooting, Shannon Kirkman, the photographer responsible for the funny and sensuous photos said, “Photographing the calendar is always fun, and shooting in the streets of New York City always presents challenges. But we are never short on beautiful scenery – both from the city or from the drivers!” She also explained how each character and the corresponding background was chosen, “Each shoot is very different based on the scenes we have chosen and the driver’s comfort level, but they all have the same general flow. We really try to showcase each of the drivers’ unique personalities while remaining within their individual comfort zones.”

(Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman) April: Yuriy’s favorite thing to do on his day off is swimming in the pool. (Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman)

Shooting in urban spaces can always be extremely tricky and difficult, especially with just a two-member team. “Phil and I are a team – he does most of the creative planning beforehand, so during the shoots he is both directing and also sometimes holding lighting, adjusting props and making sure we don’t get run over by passing cars.” For the perfect frame and picture, sometimes they have to wait for the red-light to lie down or even climb and balance on a fire hydrant!

(Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman) May: New York which is a cosmopolitan city is often demarcated by various communities and ethnicity living in particular boroughs. (Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman)

The 2017 calendar is up for sale and features 12 taxi drivers, their stories and what makes them unique. Many are immigrants with different dreams, and this job is just a stepping stone. The happy pictures certainly make one smile and one can also understand the comfort and bond they share with the photographers.

(Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman) June: Joe, who have featured earlier in the calendar has also been named as the sexiest person in the city by New York Post!(Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman)

The amount collected from the sale will be donated to “University Settlement, America’s oldest settlement house (1886), based in New York City’s Lower East Side and serving over 30,000 immigrant and working individuals and families every year with basic services like quality education, housing, recreation and wellness opportunities, and literacy programs.”

sid-july July: Sid is fun and frolic. (Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman)

The calendar can be bought at $14.99 and can be shipped anywhere in the world.

Pick for August

(Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman) William, hailing from China loves modelling. (Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman)

Pick for September

(Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman) September: Rae just love to take it easy and fly! (Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman)

Pick for October

(Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman) Asked what makes Mike laugh, hee answered “Tickling my own feet.” (Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman)

Pick for November

(Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman) (Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman)

Pick for December

(Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman) “I like the Meatpacking District for its old-fashioned feel, bars, and brick roads,” says Hassan who was on the covers last year. (Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman)

The Back Cover

(Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman) (Source: Shannon McLaughlin Kirkman, Philip Kirkman)

Tell us what you feel about this calendar?