Wednesday, 6 April 2011
Forget The Satorialist, Face Hunter. Tommy Ton and Garance Dore - 80 year old Bill Cunningham aka The Bill is the original street style photographer. Since he has been shooting fashionistas from the late 70s he has earned the respect of the heavy hitters in New York. Bill started his career as a writer on The Chicago Tribune and began taking pictures of well dressed people on the streets of New York. He got his big break when he took a chance picture of Greta Garbo which was published in The Times in 1978 and went on to become a regular series. This was a huge first because usually images of famous people needed permission before they could be run. Since then Bill has gone on to take countless photographs of celebrities, socialites and fashion personalties in Manhattan, in a career that has amassed around 40 to 50 years. He has entertained the public with his columns in The Times Style section, One the Street and Evening Hours. Some say that he has the history of the last 50 years of New York right in the palm of his hands. More remarkable is that the fact that a lot of his images have never been published.
A few months ago I came across a few blog posts about Bill Cunningham which got my attention and it was only after a while that I realised that a film had been made about him. Bill Cunningham, New York documents the life of the much celebrated photographer and the impact he has made on pop culture. It shows an artist at work and how he is much more than a creator of images but really an anthropological historian. After all this is a man who is revered by the likes of Anna Wintour who made the inoccuous comment, "We all get dressed up for Bill." We get to see the real man behind the lens as well as his humble lifestyle which consists of a simple apartment and him dashing around Manhattan on his precious bike. The documentary is directed by Richard Press who has written and directed many award winning short films. He decided to make the film due to the fascination he had about Bill as a person and how he chose to live his life. The film was released in the US on 16 March and has picked up many awards but there is no news about a UK release date.
For more information about the film, check out the website.