by Bill Cunningham
I am going to tell my secrets. Once upon a time I dreamed of working for Vogue magazine as a photographer. My other dream was to be photographed by Bill Cunningham on the streets of New York City.
I was unaware of Bill Cunningham until I started to read the New York Times Sunday newspaper. I really enjoyed the small On the Street section by Cunningham. One day, I wrote his name down and looked for his work in books in the library catalog, but alas, I didn’t find any. But during my research I stumbled upon a documentary called Bill Cunningham New York. While I watched it, I just fell in love with Cunningham. He was portrayed as a simple, charming man whose lifestyle was never frivolous. He really did live for fashion. He woke up everyday, buttoned up the same blue jacket (which reminded me instantly of Mr Rogers) and started shooting the inspiration all around him taking only his faithful Nikon camera and bicycle.
I have been waiting months for the release of this book. If you love Cunningham, you will not be disappointed. How refreshing to hear his story in his own words. You can almost hear him telling you the story in person, really. His passion for fashion was so strong that he (somewhat respectfully) defied his parents and extended family and jumped right in to creating women’s hats. Most times he was poor and hungry but fashion nourished him. The point that strikes home hardest is sticking to your guns, being one of a kind and working at your art form despite the nay-sayers. How truly inspiring.
I am about a quarter way through Cunningham’s new book. I am impressed by his drive to work in fashion despite his family’s insistence that the field is not appropriate for a young man. I am looking forward to reading more.
I liked this passage so much, I wrote it down & typed it up in this Canva graphic. Cunningham has expressed how I feel about photography. For years I’ve been shooting weddings and portraits to make money of course, but my heart isn’t in it. My heart IS in photography as an art. But that doesn’t really bring in any money unless, say, you are Cindy Sherman or Annie Leibovitz. So, at this crossroad in my life, do I continue to invest more money and time in fancy professional equipment to make money shooting weddings or do I shoot ugly, old decrepit things that inspired me?
Maybe if I win the lottery I can go back to the darkroom!! HA!