Bill Cunningham, a giant of fashion and street photography, spotted on the street (Broadway) after the Super Bowl NY Giants Parade in his trademark blue jacket.
According to fashion-world-etiquette, you’re not supposed to look at him if you see him, so that his photos maintain a candid air and an unawareness of his presence. I’m assuming actually taking a picture of him means that my getup of UNIQLO shirts and discount jeans will never make it into his New York Times “On the Street” fashion column. Oh well, I had to do it.
If you don’t know Cunningham, he’s a beloved legend among fashion figures and photographers. Here’s what some have said about him:
I was 24 when I met Bill, and he was to become the formative influence of my life. He taught me how to tell a story with pictures and that it didn’t always involve the best image. I’d say to him, ”But isn’t this a better photo?” And he’d say, ”Yes, child, but this photo tells the story better.” For him, it wasn’t about the aesthetics of photography. It was about storytelling. - Leslie Vinson.
His street photography was a breakthrough for The Times, because it was the first time the paper had run pictures of well-known people without getting their permission. The Times had always been prissy about that. - Arthur Gelb, former managing editor at the Times.
Among the sort of people who know they are wearing noteworthy outfits it is considered poor form—and, moreover, bad luck—to acknowledge that Cunningham is taking one’s picture, to blow his pose of invisibility. “If you see him, proper etiquette is just be yourself, but keep moving forward,” Linda Fargo said. For a civilian, though, opening the Sunday paper and finding that the way she looked, on the way to a dental appointment, or to the grocery store, was pleasing to Cunningham can be a thrilling experience, like opening the mailbox to find a love letter from a suitor she didn’t know existed.
I don’t think they make Instagram for his camera. Gothamist posted all of the photos I had of him.