Bill Cunningham New York, a film by Richard Press, is a very lovely portrait documentary of the photographer who shoots the fashion on the streets of New York for The Times.
At 84 Bill still heads out on his bicycle with his Nikon camera, wearing his blue jacket uniform and ‘lets the streets speak to him’. His focus is the clothes and capturing what he sees, 24-7. Celebrity, money, vanity just don’t get his attention. And in a world of all things digital he sticks to his love of film photography loading and shooting film, scanning negatives, hanging over light boxes.
The documentary really captures the respect and affection the fashion world and people of New York have for Bill and you can’t help but join in and feel that for him too. Along with all his visionary perfectionism he has a vulnerability, a gentleness, spritely fun and delight about him that is captivating.
I feel so much admiration for people who have a talent that they love enough to spend their whole life dedicated to that, never swayed. Then with all that dedication, passion, practice and because they love it so much, are rewarded reaching a whole other level of brilliance with their art, creativity and their work.
During the film Bill humbly receives an award for his work. Accepting it his voice breaks as he shares his wisdom: “If you seek beauty, you will find it.” He’s wonderful. So is the film. Do see it.