Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bill Cunningham: New York


While waiting for a friend to Sunday Shop (yes, I do feel that deserves capitalization), I finally took Netflix up on their pesky FREE ONE MONTH TRIAL emails. My disappointment with their movie selection aside, they've got an eclectic collection of documentaries, of which I watched Bill Cunningham New York. Bill was the pioneer of street style photography and has been photographing since the 1940's. He introduced the American people to Jean Paul Gultier & Ala├»a. He was one of the first photographers in Paris at the haute couture shows, brining European fashion to the states. His expansive knowledge on fashion over the decades in New York allows him to call out big names like Issac Mizrahi for ripping off designs. This man is a legend.

Did you know he's lived in the same 1 bedroom artist's studio in Carnegie Hall since moving to New York and becoming a milliner? He doesn't have a kitchen and his bathroom is in the hallway. He has never had a romantic relationship in his life (which he says he doesn't regret.) He navigates the streets of Manhattan attending multiple events a night on a bike, 28 of them have been stolen. Ironically, he owns no "wardrobe," only a few pieces which are mostly for utility, not fashion. 

Can you imagine being so passionate about something that you literally dedicate your life to it? He doesn't eat or drink at events even though they're some of New York Society's finest. He didn't accept money from Details magazine when he used to photograph for them so he could preserve his creative freedom. He is loved by so many for his unbiased and kind portrayal of his subjects because he cares about those women. How fearless of his too, to leave his family, and never think worry if he would "make it" or not. He just did the one thing that fulfilled him so deeply it was never a question. I think very few people are lucky enough to feel that way about something- let alone to achieve the level of success Bill has with their craft. 

What would you dedicate your life to, regardless of failure or success, but for the love of it? 

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