fig.: Bill Cunningham wearing a blue worker jacket, sitting on his bicycle and photographing on the street; Bill Cunningham making a picture of Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Both images are from the documentary 'Bill Cunningham New York', a film by Richard Press; released by Zeitgeist Films 2010. Photos: First Thought Films / Zeitgeist Films.
Insights into the work of a fashion chronicler
The new documentary 'Bill Cunningham New York' is about the life and work of street- and event-photographer Bill Cunningham, who contributes since the 1970s photographs to The New York Times. In the weekly 'Style' section 'On the Street', he reports emerging fashion trends from the streets, and once a week, Bill Cunningham covers cultural events like charity parties.
Cathy Horyn cites Arthur Gelb (former managing editor of The New York Times) that Bill Cunningham's photos of well-known persons had been the first published by the paper without getting their permission.
The challenge for director Richard Press was to "...capture him the way he claims to capture his own subjects: "discreetly, quietly, and invisibly." Therefore he has chosen a small team with handheld consumer cameras, who followed the fashion and culture chronicler.
"He doesn't own a car or take taxis; instead he bicycles to events all over Manhattan in one night — on his 29th bicycle. The other 28 have been stolen over the years." writes Clifford Pugh in his article about the impressions he got through the movie on the world of fashion.
The documentary 'Bill Cunningham New York' has received already several awards such as from the Sydney Film Festival, Abu Dhabi Film Fesival, etc. The public movie tour started on 16 March 2011 in New York (April and May through US and Canada). The trailer of the documentary begins with Anna Wintour who says: "We all get dressed for Bill" zeitgeistfilms.com/billcunninghamnewyork/trailer.html.