How Driving Limousines Taught SVA Alumnus Kathy Shorr More About Human Nature
January 18, 2019
by Danielle Peters
Seeing a limo cruising down the streets of New York City isn't as commonplace as it used to be several decades back. With the rise of Uber and other ride-hailing services, the once glamorous vehicle has become outdated. "I can't even remember the last time I saw a limousine in New York," says SVA alumnus and former limousine driver Kathy Shorr (BFA 1988 Photography) in a new Guardian article about The Limousine, her black and white photo series on working-class New Yorkers in high celebration mode in the 1980s.
After graduating from SVA in 1988, Shorr took a job as a limo driver in Brooklyn, and for nine months in between 1989 and 1990, she photographed the people she chauffeured around the Big Apple. "I think all the people I drove had jobs that they worked hard at. They weren’t jobs that required an education per se, but these were people that did what they had to do, and they also played hard. They liked to enjoy themselves; they lived life. They knew how to have a good time," she recalls. Almost 30 years later, Shorr, now working as a freelance photographer and instructor at SVA, still remembers the festive atmosphere that would frequently permeate the limo. "People were in a good mood and when you’re in that kind of mood there are very few things that will fluster you. There was a lot of laughing and drinking and extending the festivities of the day into the car," she says.
The Guardian goes further in depth with Shorr about the best and worst tippers, the backstory of some of the people she photographed in her limo, and the humanity found in each photo. For the full story and more images, click here. For more coverage, see this recent article in The New York Times.