Originally appeared in the artsfuse.org 5/8/11
"Bill Cunningham’s New York"
This is the story of a fashion fetishist, his camera, and NYC.
Bill Cunningham is a nimble, birdlike bicyclist — now an octogenarian, still biking and shooting and famed throughout the fashion world for his work. Starting in 1978, his fashion verité photos for The New York Times gave him steady employment, aesthetic freedom, and complete license to shoot.
It should be stressed that Cunningham loves clothes — not the celebrities nor the wealth associated with them. He's primordially blasé about all that. And maybe it's not even clothes per se that he enjoys: it's individualization and inventiveness through couture, presentation of personhood by means of dress. He's just as quick to see and appreciate it on a bag lady as on a billionaire.