Bill Cunningham is a street photographer. He rides a bicycle, wears a blue jacket and takes pictures of people on the street. Other people’s clothing are his absolute raison d’etre. He lives a life of extreme asceticism. Never cooks. Hardly eats. Goes to church on Sunday. Doesn’t particularly care for money. Has few personal items and even fewer personal friends. He attends all the fanciest parties in New York. But he doesn’t party, not one bit. He works instead. Fastidiously chronicling what people wear through his pictures. He has devoted his entirety to searching for beauty. Bill is a fashion monk.
His photo page in the Times is a veritable quilt of the town’s quirk. He shoots pictures of people who are uniquely dressed and then finds other people who are wearing something similar. He follows patterns of color, texture, cut and curiosity. At it since the ‘60’s, Bill captures that quality of New York that makes ordinary people instantly boring. Older ladies in large black rimmed round glasses, couches turned into suits, hats, astonishing egos, pelts, fuzz, feathers, impossible heels. Its magical realism, but its real.
We saw a documentary about his life tonight, its called “Bill Cunningham’s New York”. It was seriously heartwarming and inspiring. It made me wish more people were like Bill.
But before we saw the film, Joe saw him. A few months ago. On the street. Riding his bicycle. Joe approached him and asked him for a picture for his wife, who is me. And so, Bill let Joe take a video of him. You can hear the smiles that ensued between my darling and the city’s humble fashion darling, Bill.