Bill Cunningham, the O.G. of Street Style Photography

by Laurie Henzel

Bill Cunningham New York is a wonderful documentary directed by Richard Press that explores the idiosyncratic street photographer, Bill Cunningham. The camera follows the octogenarian around on his bicycle as he zooms in and out of traffic, and as he stops frequently to shoot interesting looking fashions on the streets. He’s been working as a street shooter for the New York Times since 1978. Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved looking at his pages in the Times, and it’s always a thrill to see him in his ubiquitous blue jacket.  The film is a real treat for fashion lovers, with testimonials by the likes of Anna Wintour,  Iris Apfel, and Kim Hastreiter, but even if you don’t give a crap about the fashion world, it’s a wonderful portrait of someone who is really passionate about something, and he is incredibly humble about himself and what he does. Here is a quote from a piece in the Times from 2002,  “The problem is I’m not a good photographer. To be perfectly honest, I’m too shy. Not aggressive enough. Well, I’m not aggressive at all. I just loved to see wonderfully dressed women, and I still do. That’s all there is to it.”

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Cunningham comes off as a real sweetheart, he is clearly a real New York treasure, and this touching film is a tribute to someone that inspires us all to find beauty in the every day, or what might be otherwise overlooked. The movie opens in NYC on March 16th and in the rest of the country in April, click here for the dates in your area.


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