Bill Cunningham (played by Bill Cunningham) is a photographer for the New York Times and he has been doing this job for several decades. He spends his days taking in the sights and sounds on the New York City streets. He cycles around the city on his 28th bicycle (after the previous 27 were all stolen) and photographs what he sees. He lets the photographs tell what the fashion trends of the time are and he produces a regular photographic column for the newspaper. He is fascinating, 82 years old, eccentric and much loved by the New York Times readers, high society and fashion-aware public alike. You might say he is obsessed with fashion and the current “look” on the street – his photographs are marvellous. He has a rushed staccato style when he takes the shots, but the finished products are great and really tell their own stories. He has kept every single photograph he’s ever taken and he, himself, is a most interesting subject to watch.
This is a biographical documentary, made by Richard Press – which basically follows Bill Cunningham around as he works (he does little else) and we learn all about Bill, the man, during this process. It’s a fascinating movie – there are insights from others – Anna Wintour, Editta Sherman, Patrick McDonald, Howard Koda, John Kurdewan, Carmen Dell’Orefice and Annette De la Renta, we also see Michael Kors. Some discuss their own experience as Bill’s subject and others fill in some of the gaps and questions we might have about Bill – but some things remain a mystery – he is an enigma and the movie is really fascinating, with a very human and warm edge to it.
Made in 2010. Directed by Richard Press