I am in love with a photographer: Bill Cunningham. Last night my husband and I watched a documentary, Bill Cunningham New York. We checked it out of the library, of course!
Who is Bill Cunningham?
Mr. Cunningham has photographed street style for nearly 50 years—mostly in New York City. He’s known for his photo column, “On the Street” in the New York Times. At 83 years of age, he’s still going strong. Really strong!
Work it, Bill!
Bill still works, doing a weekly column for the New York Times. I hope I’m doing what I love when I am over 80!
Bill is famous for riding his bike around the city (no helmet). In the documentary he says that his bike is number 29. Thieves stole the previous 28 cycles.
He’s usually seen wearing a blue smock. (He says smocks are practical because they have pockets and keep the camera from ruining his other clothes).
Like a bee
His photography style is quick. He tries to be invisible. He snaps photos on the fly and usually doesn’t ask permission.
Bill is a throw back. He still uses film. He’s not digital and it seems he never will be. Bill has enthusiasm. He’s optimistic. Like me, he is known to clap when he’s happy!
Most remarkable of all, Bill Cunningham is truly kind. He’s egalitarian: treating socialites and transvestites with the same openness. “You kids,” he says to practically everyone. The ladies love when he calls them “Child.”
What is the idea?
Bill doesn’t take pictures because of WHO wears the clothes. His reason IS the clothing. He visits the fashion weeks, society events and the streets. He sees new ideas and trends. He filters. Like all artists, he helps others see.
These things take time
It’s a little difficult to get to know the man behind the camera. The director, Richard Press, says that the movie took 10 years to make: eight years to convince Bill and then two more years to actually film and edit.
Bill is shy. His life is his camera. He loves his work. And, his play is more of the same on the weekend. I won’t give everything away. If you love fashion, you’ve got to watch, Bill Cunningham New York.
The documentary includes interviews with several famous people. Fashion editor Anna Wintour gushes about Bill. (Ms. Wintour is supposedly the devil of The Devil Wears Prada fame. And, by the way, if you are into magazines or advertising, I recommend The September Issue. )
And, everyone else loves Bill Cunningham too. I want to be like him: kind, passionate and seeing beauty in the world.
Have a wonderful day!
Here’s the trailer for the movie.