In January 2014 I started watching Netflix 2010 documentary on the New York photographer “Bill Cunningham”, who was known as “the Wacky Photographer”. He took pictures for the New York Times for more than 90 years. Two of the photo articles were regularly featured in the New York Times Sunday edition under titles noted in the above paragraph.
I was intrigued by Bill’s passion for riding around the streets of New York, on his bicycle, right up till his final day on Monday Feb. 10th, 2014.
He was killed while doing what he loved best: photography on the streets of Manhattan. Bill died when Bill’s bicycle collided with a motorized wheelchair at the corner of 7th Avenue and 49th in Manhattan; “he was photographing a street-crossing cross-dresser wearing a designer dog collar while simultaneously operating his bicycle. He never wore a bicycle helmet as this would compromise his eccentricity”. This quote was taken from the New York Obituaries by R. W. Appleipad”
The documentary on Netflix portrays Bill’s life photographing interesting life on the streets of Manhattan in New York:
“I only know how to have fun everyday doing what I love – taking pictures….When I photograph clothes, it is the clothes not the celebrity. It is the cut, the lines, fabric it is the clothes and not the spectacle.”
Bill truly loves his work as he states in this documentary receiving the Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters in France. In his speech while receiving this award he speaks passionately and honourable to his fellow colleagues in the fashion industry who watched him receive this award in France.
“He who seeks beauty will find it”.
He was an inspiration, passionate about his work in photography, people, places, life and he carried on until passed 100 years doing what he loved.
He had taken pictures of very famous and influential people and everyday life on the streets of New York, from Michael Kors to Editta Sherman, who had an apartment for many years in the same building as Bill (Carnegie Hall).
He photographed every day people wearing eccentric clothes and shoes walking the streets of New York. And in the documentary, Anna Wintour, editor of English editor-in-chief of American Vogue said “We all get dressed for Bill”.
While my husband and I were in New York on the weekend of February 8th, I picked up the New York Sunday Times – I find the NYT one of the most interesting papers to read. I flipped furiously to the section “On The Street”, with that particular instalment titled “Whiteout”, which had pictures from the previous Monday’s snowfall; there were pictures of men in dress shoes leaping over slush-filled curbs, which made for some interesting and comical shots.
The next article article in the same newspaper was entitled “Evening Hours, “Gilded Age, Then and Now”.
My husband and I returned home on Sunday evening and then I wanted to find out more about Bill’s life. On Tuesday Feb. 11th I found out that he had died when reading an on-line obituary Column that “Bill Cunningham, Wacky Photographer, Dies at 106”.
He was a man that loved and was passionate about his work and carried on his passion through to the end and well past a normal person’s retirement. If you have a chance you should watch this wonderful documentary on his life featured on Netflix.