Bill Cunningham 1929-2016
Last Saturday, June 25th the world lost one of its most iconic fashion photographers, Bill Cunningham. The passing of the 87-year-old photographer has triggered memories and tributes throughout the fashion world. His trademark blue garb, shoulder slung Nikon FM2 and impeccable manners will be sorely missed from the NY fashion scene.
For nearly 40 years, Bill Cunningham had been biking through the streets with his small camera bag on his shoulder, capturing fashion and beauties that both his eyes and camera could appreciate. “I don’t decide anything. I let the street speak to me, and in order for the street to speak to you, you’ve got to stay out there and see what it is.” Bill turned himself into a New York Fashion database and shared candid photos in his “ On The Street” and “Evening Hours” columns in The New York Times. Just as Anna Wintour said, “We all dress for Bill,” being shot by Bill was a symbol of reassurance and recognition as an A+ fashionista.
In the documentary ‘Bill Cunningham New York,’ we get a glimpse into Bill’s personal residence in Manhattan. All he had was a tiny bed. The rest of the space was filled with boxes of negatives that he took over the past 40 years. In 2008, he went to Paris and the French government bestowed to him the Legion of Honor. Yet he doesn’t call himself a photographer; he is just a guy that has dedicated his entire life to something that brought him happiness. He allowed his passion for fashion to transcend his innate need for companionship and passion.
Introducing himself as, “Hey, this is the guy that comes in on a bicycle,” while chatting with a huge smile, he fixes his rain jacket with some tape and says, “So little tape, and we’re back to business!” He is known for saying fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life. The world is a little less colourful without him now.