Friday, 1 April 2011

Bill Cunningham New York | A film by Richard Press

Known for his refined eye and worldly view on fashion, Zeitgeist Films released a movie on the whereabouts of the 82-year old fashion photographer   Bill Cunningham. The documentary ‘Bill Cunningham New York’ shows how the famous fashion photographer, who covers the Times Style sections ‘On the Street’ and ‘Evening Hours’, fearlessly defies taxicabs on his bike to capture original looks on the streets, and attends soirees to document uptown people.'One snap, two snaps or he ignores you, which is death.’ If American Vogue editor Anna Wintour thinks being ignored by this fashion photographer means death, then everyone in New York City should dress for their lives!'

In his own unassuming uniform, Bill Cunningham is The New York Time's patriarch of fashion photography. Cunningham is a spry man who rides his bicycle everywhere - he's on his 29th, the previous 28 being stolen. He lives a monastix existence, eating $3 meals in cafes and living in a tiny studio with a makeshit bed surrounded by file cabinets with every negative he's ever used. 'If you don't take money, they can't tell you what to do' he says when explaining why he worked for a magazine without pay for years.

We all get dressed for Bill.” Anna Wintour told Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn in a 2002 tribute piece on the photographer. Oscar de la Renta, offered his two cents on the man, too. “More than anyone else in the city, he has the whole visual history of the last 40 or 50 years of New York,” the designer said. “It’s the total scope of fashion in the life of New York.

"The best fashion show is on the street. Always has been and always will be." Cunningham declares. 

“He completely ignored me, and I was filming him for over an hour,” Press remembers. Then, as Cunningham mounted the steps near the building’s entrance, he turned and looked directly into the camera lens. “And he gives me his invitation. So he’s aware of me the entire time, even though he never let on.”

Because of his keen observations, some call him the ‘interpreter of the City’. Cunningham explains: ‘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’.

Iris Apfel, former interior designer, fashion icon and one of Bill’s regular subjects

Anna Wintour , editor-in-chief of Vogue, talking about Bill.

Bill Cunningham Trailer:

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