Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Documentary Review: Bill Cunningham New York

As a person who enjoys seeing what people wear on the street AND photography, this documentary was very enjoyable.  What made it really lovely was that is focused on one New York gem, Bill Cunningham.  Bill has been snapping away at street fashion since the early 80's and is probably the first person to actively document "street fashion" rather than simply reporting on what the stars are wearing this week.
He does photograph the stars, and attends Fashion Week in Paris, however his judicial eye can make or break the perceived success of any clothing line.  Even Anna Winteur will admit that.  If Bill doesn't take a picture of it, you didn't make the "cut."  Now that statement is quite large, but what I really appreciate about Bill is that he won't photograph clothing that he can't imagine on the normal woman on the street.  He imagines it on the average girl rather than the super model.  I deeply appreciate that fact.
Bill Cunningham is one of the last residents of Carnegie Hall, at the end of the documentary we are privy to his previewing a new apartment which he really doesn't need. His apartment in Carnegie was really only one room with a cot to sleep on.  The rest of the space was filled with file cabinets of his photographs and legacy.  He is a man of simple needs, just a camera and a cheap windbreaker.  If you're going to be a photographer, why spend money on a nice jacket that will just get ripped by your camera?
This was a beautiful glimpse at the life of a man who will be sorely missed when we finally loose him.

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