Last weekend I went with my wife, my daughter and son and saw the film, Bill Cunningham (trailer), a fascinating documentary whose subject is a documentary photographer.
It's a great film about the quirky photographer, Bill Cunningham, who says, "The best fashion show is on the street. Always has been, always will be."
Originally a hat designer and then a writer on fashion, years ago he was given a camera by a friend who told him to use it like a pen to take notes. He has taken that advice and become a photographic note taker extraordinaire. Cunningham is eighty-two years old and still produces his weekly photo essay called On the Street for the New York Times.
Wearing his trademark blue jacket, the same one worn by Paris street cleaners, Cunningham rides around New York City on a basic Schwinn bicycle, stopping to photograph what people are actually wearing on the street.
In this age of digital photography he shoots 35mm color negative film, has it developed at a lab called Photo King and then has the New York Times scan his best frames. Cunningham is obsessed with his work and lives to do his work. His living quarters are spartan, a bed surrounded by filing cabinets, no kitchen, and a bathroom down the hall. He values his independence and will not accept meals or drinks at events that he covers.
His knowledge and connections in the fashion world are encyclopedic. The French government honored him in 2008 with title of Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters.
I can only hope to have his energy and enthusiasm for taking photographs if I am blessed to live into my eighties.