Thursday, April 14, 2016


This week's arts and culture column is on the marvelous NYT fashion photographer Bill Cunningham.

It begins like this:

Bill Cunningham, the subject of the 2010 documentary “Bill Cunningham New York,” is a fashion photographer who for years has maintained two spreads in “The New York Times.”

“Evening Hours” covers the social, philanthropic and political world of New York’s high society. “On the Street” is an “attempt to tease out trends in terms of the reality of how people dress,” observes Harold Koda, curator of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “I really feel he does address the whole spectrum of what we are as New Yorkers and I believe he’s the only one who does it.”

Cunningham, 83 when the film was made, rides around Manhattan on an old (donated) Schwinn (his 29th; the previous 28 were stolen). He gets his film developed at a mom-and-pop convenience store called Photo King. He sleeps in a cot in the same tiny studio above Carnegie Hall where he’s lived for decades.

Threatened with eviction and offered a new, snazzy apartment, he frets, “Who the hell wants a kitchen and a bathroom? Just more room to clean.”



  1. What a tender-hearted article, Heather. I keep forgetting to check out the movie about Bill C. Thanks for sharing these open and yet hidden lives- true gems- that you notice. Happy Spring!

  2. Cool, never heard of him. I have to check him out :)

  3. I saw that doc when it came out and fell in LOVE with it. Just a wonderful piece on a remarkable man. It was fun to see him go to those super ritzy fashion things as just him and see everyone swoon over him. You know he makes all kind of money, but probably lives on $20 a week. I was also really touched by the quick, subtle little piece about his Catholic faith and orientation...and his fidelity to his faith in the midst of it.


I WELCOME your comments!!!