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Celebrating Late Fashion Photographer Bill Cunningham

Photography By
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 15: Photographer Bill Cunningham is seen outside Skylight Clarkson Sq during New York Fashion Week: Men's S/S 2016 on July 15, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
Photographer Bill Cunningham is seen outside Skylight Clarkson Sq during New York Fashion Week: Men’s S/S 2016 on July 15, 2015, in New York City. (Noam Galai/Getty Images)

 

On June 25, 2016, the world lost renowned fashion photographer Bill Cunningham, who pioneered street style photography. One of the most prolific fashion photographers of all time, Cunningham made his name with his New York Times column “On the Street,” which featured street-fashion in an unprecedented way. From his signature blue jacket to his charming demeanor, Cunningham was a rare icon. In 2009, Lauren Collins wrote a profile on Cunningham for The New Yorker. Here’s Collins on Cunningham:

“Cunningham is as attuned to the bourgeois as he is to the avant-garde, and the mundane accessories of day-to-day life are as exalted in his photographs as any platform shoe or deconstructed bustle. Balaclavas, shown in collage, hint at the martial aspect of New York street life. An umbrella, flipped inside out by the wind, becomes an abstract sculpture; a snow poncho, wrapped around its wearer’s head, is a plastic exoskeleton that will eventually be shed. He is drawn to anything natural: children, gardens, parks, animals. (His column has featured a parrot, a duck, a python, a monkey, a tortoise, and many dogs; not long ago, he took a train all the way back to Long Island when he realized that some black irises he had just seen at Old Westbury Gardens perfectly echoed the filigreed lines of both a 1900 cut-velvet Worth gown and some nearby wrought-iron gates.) He has a thing for curbside puddles. ‘It’s a little ridiculous, but a fierce snowstorm is wonderful!’ he said. ‘Oh, it’s marvellous—it just rearranges the whole fashion scene when the wind blows down from the top of the Avenue. Six-, seven-hundred-dollar shoes, and they’re all in the slush—hey, it’s pretty peculiar!’ He went on, ‘Nothing like a good blizzard, kid, and you got pictures!'”

Read Collins’ full profile here. To learn more about Cunningham’s work and his legacy, watch the documentary Bill Cunningham New York below.