Bill Cunningham New York
- Emma Simmonds
- 17 February 2012
Illustrates how New York Times photographer’s significance extends beyond fashion
You don’t need to be a fashionista to fall for Richard Press’ feature debut, an exuberant, occasionally intimate portrait of Bill Cunningham, a former milliner and New York Times photographer specialising in street fashion and society events.
While he’s fascinated by those who stand out from the crowd, the octogenarian Cunningham is hardly visually arresting himself (in his own words, he’s ‘a slob’). However, he’s sharp and winningly unassuming and the film poignantly follows him as he prepares to be evicted from one of the few remaining studios in Carnegie Hall.
Press’ effervescent documentary is enlivened by contributions from some of the characters Cunningham has captured, from Vogue editor Anna Wintour (‘we all get dressed for Bill’) to (extra)ordinary joes. Press shows sensitivity in his questioning and captures his workaholic subject with energy and compassion. He also highlights Cunningham’s idiosyncratic approach – he won’t snap a celebrity if their outfit isn’t absolutely fabulous. Most importantly, however, it’s a film which illustrates how Cunningham’s significance extends beyond fashion; he’s a determined documenter of New York life and a fine feature of its streets.
Selected release from Fri 16 Mar.