The Elegant Chronicler

 

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“I’m not interested in celebrities and their free dresses. I’m interested in FASHION!”

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My photo of Mr. Cunningham from 2012

 

Without a doubt, I’m one of hundreds, if not thousands of bloggers posting tonight about the passing of Bill Cunningham, the remarkable NY photographer who practically, if not literally, invented the art of capturing unbridled, unfiltered Manhattan street style for the rest of the world to enjoy.

 

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Still, as someone who has a deep appreciation for fashion (to put it mildly) I would feel remiss to let his passing go unmentioned here on Slim Paley.  It was my pleasure to catch a glimpse of his blue jacket sailing by on his bicycle a few times on the upper east side of NY.  Once, coming out of the northeast door of Barney’s and turning right to Madison, I was lucky enough to see him in action, snapping Daphne Guinness exiting the main door.  Such a wonderful NY moment.

 

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He was elegant, unique, talented, interesting (though he would beg to differ) and enormously humble.  A simple man who found an admirably solid and grounded place in a world many deem frivolous.

 

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“I just loved to see wonderfully dressed women, and I still do. That’s all there is to it”.

 

He stayed true to himself, never jaded, always with that smile, utterly unprepossessing, unerringly gracious.

 

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There’s so much to be said about this beloved gentleman, but instead I would just suggest that if you’ve never seen the 2010 documentary “Bill Cunningham’s New York” now is the time to seek it out. For those who have already had the pleasure, I’m sure a great many will be revisiting it again. It was, just like Mr. Cunningham himself, quite amazing. It brought my husband and me to tears more than once, it was so touching, yet I remember feeling at the end that we had just had the privilege of seeing a LIFE fully realised. It was a beautiful thing.

The one thing I never understood, I have to say it, especially after the documentary made Mr. Cunningham a ‘celebrity’ in his own right  (something he wasn’t at all comfortable with) and with the phenonemona phenomena uh, the popularity of street style rising so dramatically in recent years, was why the NY Times never made the decision to give “Bill Cunningham’s Street Style” an entire page? Why such tiny photos?!  Wouldn’t we all have enjoyed seeing them much larger, or is it just me?

Maybe, just maybe, it didn’t occur to them… and he would never have been one to ask.

RIP Mr. Cunningham

Thank you for the inspiration and all the captured light and fun you shared with us.

You might want to peek:

http://slimpaley.com/art/dispatch-from-nyc-1/  (spotting Bill in 2012)

http://slimpaley.com/creativity/friday-favourites-99/   ( short post from 2011 with my recommendation and  link to documentary trailer)

 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and in honour of Mr. Cunningham…

Care what you wear!

xxSP

~

 

29 Comments

  1. Yes indeed, a wonderful American treasure has passed on. I loved the documentary. I loved Saturday postings on the online edition of NY Times. That fun bass line, I can hear it in my head right now. It was a tradition my daughter and I would share, sitting in front of my computer looking at the lovely New Yorkers. He honored fashion in its purity. And his Yankee drawl, does anyone speak like that any more or will they ever again? Thanks Slim for honoring Bill!

  2. Living life today, walking down Coast village, pretending/wishing to be one of his “women” ha………..of course my daughter was way more stylish just being herself and much more fab than I could ever be, he would have snapped away with her sweet presence……..what a lovely, honest man, living life thru a lens makes you see more than you realize………

  3. He was exactly that. Excellent…two words. He was the elegant chronicler…..and I have followed him for decades! I was even in one post a million years ago! Before digital anything! Have no record…..I just loved it….and I just loved him!

    What a treasure! SOB!!! Great post!
    He actually, I understand, insisted on those small photos!
    And he would not be happy to see how very few women “dress” now; after all!

    Your post is the very best in honor of him! I am sharing it….and I hope everyone else does!!!

  4. “CARE WHAT YOU WEAR” IN HONOR OF BILL. SLIM IS SO CORRECT! LOOK AROUND…..LOOK AT “SLOBBOVIA” (AL CAPP)……AND “CARE WHAT YOU WEAR”!!! IN BILL CUNNINGHAM’S HONOR!

    FABULOUS FILM BY THE WAY! WHAT AN ELEGANT MAN!!!!

  5. I had the pleasure of meeting him a few times and to have been photographed by him. He was so gentle and humble. The documentary on him captured him do well. I don’t think there will ever be another like Bill Cunningham.

  6. I admired Bill enormously…mostly his sincere, humble, unaffected ethics. I will miss him very much. He was truly unique. I loved his smile…

  7. I have a few photos Bill took of Michael and me. So true….a smile that never left his face, soft voice, it was not a job he held, it was his life.

  8. Bill Cunningham was a very special, simpatico man. Watch the documentary Slim suggested. It is both touching and inspiring. He lived life fully, the way he wanted; humbly yet fully.

  9. Thank you for this post Slim. Mr. Cunningham lived a beautiful life in the city on his bike doing what he loved…and was loved in return…that smile! The NY Times just won’t be the same without his lovely images.

  10. Ah – I’m sad to hear of his passing. Isn’t it wonderful to live a life doing humbly, happily, what you love and find such delight engaging in?

  11. Regretfully, I have never heard of this gentleman until now, Slim. Thank you so much for sharing. I will definitely watch the documentary.

  12. Thank you for sharing. How wonderful that you had Bill Cunningham sightings in NYC! I remember your post. Loved the documentary and his eye for fashion. Wonderful, unassuming, gracious man. He will be missed. R.I.P. Bill Cunningham.

  13. Bill loved to photograph men and women in beautiful clothes. He was such a kind man assuring he Covered TCCs Flower Ball at the Pierre each year in support of all those poor souls in this speciality care hospital. I will miss Bill.

  14. I never missed seeing his photographic work. A true gentleman, who will be missed. So glad you acknowledged him with this post.

  15. I was with Wendy Foster in Paris a few years ago. Bill Cunningham came up to her and ask if he could photograph her- charming!!

  16. Not one bit surprised he spied Wendy Foster! She is such an original…….and always has been! She is the penultimate example of what he adored! Brava Wendy!
    Everyone who has any interest in fashion…..who has not seen the documentary on him…..watch it! He never did! He said he “didn’t have time”! He was so self-effacing. He was an icon……thank God those people did that wonderful documentary and captured him!!! What a star he was! (without ever wanting to be a star at all!!!)

    Thank you, Slim……great great post!!!

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