Forums > General Industry > Bill Cunningham

Photographer

Greg Kolack

Posts: 18289

Downers Grove, Illinois, US

I just saw the documentary "Bill Cunningham New York" a few days ago.

http://www.zeitgeistfilms.com/billcunninghamnewyork/

What a fascinating guy and great film.

I knew nothing about him, mostly because I am not in New York and not in the fashion world.

What struck me the most about this guy is he uses a Nikon 35mm and for the most part, I only saw 1 lens, which looked like a 50mm. And he uses a camera mounted flash. He travels by bike and lives in a tiny little apartment. No frills in anything he does. He knows and has shot celebrities of all types, yet he focuses on street people. No ego, no drama, no complications. He loves what he does, and is hugely respected by everyone.

It made me think of all the chest puffing, exaggerations, pomposity, and self importance that is often present on these Forums. So much bragging about how much equipment one owns and how much money it cost, about brushing shoulders with so and so, who one knows and who one fucks, silly youtube videos, long lists of credits on the profile page, and expounding lots of often false info.

Bill doesn't need or do any of that - he just needs his eye and uses his brain to earn the respect he has today.

A truly admirable and humbling guy.

Aug 29 11 06:51 pm Link

Photographer

CAT Productions

Posts: 243

Atlanta, Georgia, US

Greg Kolack wrote:
I just saw the documentary "Bill Cunningham New York" a few days ago.

http://www.zeitgeistfilms.com/billcunninghamnewyork/

What a fascinating guy and great film.

I knew nothing about him, mostly because I am not in New York and not in the fashion world.

What struck me the most about this guy is he uses a Nikon 35mm and for the most part, I only saw 1 lens, which looked like a 50mm. And he uses a camera mounted flash. He travels by bike and lives in a tiny little apartment. No frills in anything he does. He knows and has shot celebrities of all types, yet he focuses on street people. No ego, no drama, no complications. He loves what he does, and is hugely respected by everyone.

It made me think of all the chest puffing, exaggerations, pomposity, and self importance that is often present on these Forums. So much bragging about how much equipment one owns and how much money it cost, about brushing shoulders with so and so, who one knows and who one fucks, silly youtube videos, long lists of credits on the profile page, and expounding lots of often false info.

Bill doesn't need or do any of that - he just needs his eye and uses his brain to earn the respect he has today.

A truly admirable and humbling guy.

Yeah, great movie. I enjoyed it also. Some poignant moments included as well...

Aug 29 11 07:01 pm Link

Photographer

Lumigraphics

Posts: 32780

Detroit, Michigan, US

Greg Kolack wrote:
I just saw the documentary "Bill Cunningham New York" a few days ago.

http://www.zeitgeistfilms.com/billcunninghamnewyork/

What a fascinating guy and great film.

I knew nothing about him, mostly because I am not in New York and not in the fashion world.

What struck me the most about this guy is he uses a Nikon 35mm and for the most part, I only saw 1 lens, which looked like a 50mm. And he uses a camera mounted flash. He travels by bike and lives in a tiny little apartment. No frills in anything he does. He knows and has shot celebrities of all types, yet he focuses on street people. No ego, no drama, no complications. He loves what he does, and is hugely respected by everyone.

It made me think of all the chest puffing, exaggerations, pomposity, and self importance that is often present on these Forums. So much bragging about how much equipment one owns and how much money it cost, about brushing shoulders with so and so, who one knows and who one fucks, silly youtube videos, long lists of credits on the profile page, and expounding lots of often false info.

Bill doesn't need or do any of that - he just needs his eye and uses his brain to earn the respect he has today.

A truly admirable and humbling guy.

There is a certain commercial photographer in Chicago who I admire the hell out of who is brash but yet humble...and his work is better than mine probably ever will be, yet he still poor-mouths himself and always talks about how little he knows.

Aug 29 11 07:13 pm Link

Photographer

Greg Kolack

Posts: 18289

Downers Grove, Illinois, US

Lumigraphics wrote:

There is a certain commercial photographer in Chicago who I admire the hell out of who is brash but yet humble...and his work is better than mine probably ever will be, yet he still poor-mouths himself and always talks about how little he knows.

Bill doesn't poor mouth himself - he simply doesn't talk much about himself.

Aug 29 11 07:33 pm Link

Photographer

NothingIsRealButTheGirl

Posts: 35726

Los Angeles, California, US

Just streamed it on Netflix. Great.

Oct 12 12 11:13 pm Link

Photographer

Terakawa

Posts: 580

Emeryville, California, US

Never once taken food or drink at any function.  a bit eccentric for sure.

Oct 13 12 12:13 am Link

Photographer

Mortonovich II

Posts: 723

San Diego, California, US

Waiting for that DVD to arrive from Netflix tomorrow!!!

Oct 13 12 12:56 am Link

Photographer

Roy Hubbard

Posts: 2984

East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, US

Terakawa wrote:
Never once taken food or drink at any function.  a bit eccentric for sure.

More than a bit, but I think he's an amazing guy overall. I saw this earlier this week. There's some interesting discussion at the IMDB board.

Oct 13 12 10:38 am Link

Photographer

Supermodel Photographer

Posts: 3309

Oyster Bay, New York, US

Greg Kolack wrote:
He loves what he does, and is hugely respected by everyone.

Everyone (perhaps) except for the people who do not love what he does, people who do not even moderately respect work that looks like snapshots.

Oct 13 12 10:53 am Link

Model

Jen B

Posts: 4236

Hesperia, California, US

Greg Kolack wrote:
I just saw the documentary "Bill Cunningham New York" a few days ago.

...

I enjoyed when I saw his documentary. I am not sure if it is the same one but, he is pretty spectacular.
Jen

Oct 13 12 11:12 am Link

Photographer

M Pandolfo Photography

Posts: 12117

Tampa, Florida, US

Looking forward to watching it tonight on Netflix Streaming..too impatient to wait for the DVD.

Oct 13 12 11:19 am Link

Photographer

NothingIsRealButTheGirl

Posts: 35726

Los Angeles, California, US

Michael Pandolfo wrote:
Looking forward to watching it tonight on Netflix Streaming..too impatient to wait for the DVD.

Did you?

Oct 14 12 01:08 pm Link

Photographer

Mark

Posts: 2936

New York, New York, US

I stopped him on the street one day to chat- he really is not happy about that movie being made about him.  I haven't seen it but still I am glad some one made it.

Oct 14 12 01:27 pm Link

Photographer

Lee Nutter

Posts: 160

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Mark wrote:
I stopped him on the street one day to chat- he really is not happy about that movie being made about him.  I haven't seen it but still I am glad some one made it.

not happy because it's turned him into a celebrity or because it misrepresented him in some way?

Oct 14 12 04:04 pm Link

Photographer

Jhono Bashian

Posts: 2464

Cleveland, Ohio, US

Lee Nutter wrote:

not happy because it's turned him into a celebrity or because it misrepresented him in some way?

maybe he is not collecting any royalties off that film

Oct 14 12 04:13 pm Link

Photographer

Roy Hubbard

Posts: 2984

East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, US

Mark wrote:
I stopped him on the street one day to chat- he really is not happy about that movie being made about him.  I haven't seen it but still I am glad some one made it.

Also curious about this.

Oct 15 12 09:38 am Link

Photographer

Mortonovich II

Posts: 723

San Diego, California, US

Watching it now. What a cool documentary!

Oct 17 12 11:50 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Jingjing Hang

Posts: 2

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Jhono Bashian wrote:

maybe he is not collecting any royalties off that film

Honestly I doubt he'd care one bit whatsoever about royalties.
I'm guessing the celebrity part he prefers to be not noticed and doesn't think he's anything special.

Oct 18 12 02:47 am Link

Photographer

J M

Posts: 372

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Jingjing Hang wrote:

Honestly I doubt he'd care one bit whatsoever about royalties.
I'm guessing the celebrity part he prefers to be not noticed and doesn't think he's anything special.

Whoops that was me, gf stayed logged in again..

Oct 18 12 02:48 am Link

Photographer

Mark

Posts: 2936

New York, New York, US

Roy Hubbard wrote:
Also curious about this.

sorry it took so long to reply  He said something like it was terribly intrusive.

Oct 20 12 08:59 pm Link

Photographer

J M

Posts: 372

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Mark wrote:

sorry it took so long to reply  He said something like it was terribly intrusive.

Makes sense, everyone who talks about him mentions he is very, very private with his private life

Oct 21 12 12:11 am Link

Photographer

annie lomowitz

Posts: 257

WOODY CREEK, Colorado, US

Dec 09 12 12:36 pm Link

Photographer

NothingIsRealButTheGirl

Posts: 35726

Los Angeles, California, US

When the New York Times came out on Sunday with no photographs by Bill Cunningham for the first time in decades, it may have marked the end of an era.

Cunningham, 87, is in the hospital “recovering from what appears to have been a stroke,” a Times spokeswoman said.

http://pagesix.com/2016/06/23/new-york- … rs-stroke/

Jun 25 16 01:25 pm Link

Photographer

NothingIsRealButTheGirl

Posts: 35726

Los Angeles, California, US

Bill Cunningham, Legendary Times Fashion Photographer, Dies at 87

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/26/style … at-87.html

Jun 25 16 05:45 pm Link

Photographer

ZP Pliskin

Posts: 16

Brooklyn, New York, US

RIP

Jun 25 16 06:08 pm Link

Photographer

Brooklyn Bridge Images

Posts: 11675

Brooklyn, New York, US

Sad how younger the generation cant comprehend somebody not being a celebrity driven publicity whore

Jun 25 16 06:24 pm Link

Photographer

martin b

Posts: 1969

Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines

sad to hear about his death.

Jun 25 16 06:49 pm Link

Photographer

Form and Pressure

Posts: 751

Auburn, Maine, US

Bill was a great observer. He spotted trends on the street before they were trends in the industry.He was always at fasion week photographing.The editor of Vogue once said that if Bill didnt raise his camera when your design walked down the runway, that it was the kiss of death.

I'm sure eventually the paper will eventually get someone else to attempt what Bill was doing. That person will have big shoes to fill.

Jun 27 16 05:59 am Link

Model

Victoria Elle

Posts: 680

New York, New York, US

Brooklyn Bridge Images wrote:
Sad how younger the generation cant comprehend somebody not being a celebrity driven publicity whore

I am part of the NYC Vintage scene, and was photographed by Bill many times.  I also had the pleasure of speaking with him from time to time at events.  He was the kindest, loveliest man and everyone knew it.  He was respected and loved by people of all generations and walks of life.

Jun 27 16 07:53 am Link

Photographer

Francisco Castro

Posts: 2260

Newport, Kentucky, US

This film is available for free viewing with your Amazon Prime membership. FYI

Jun 27 16 08:06 am Link

Photographer

Brian Diaz

Posts: 65173

Danbury, Connecticut, US

Here it is on Hulu (no Hulu+ subscription required):
http://www.hulu.com/watch/295711



Here's the link for Amazon Prime subscribers:
https://www.amazon.com/Bill-Cunningham- … amp;sr=8-1

Jun 27 16 10:20 am Link

Photographer

John H Read Photography

Posts: 61

Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

What makes him an amazing photographer is not the equipment it's his eye for composition and seeing new trends in the fashion industry, a true inspiration from a time when being a photographer meant you had to earn the title. Years of just shooting with little or no recognition because you love what you're doing. Most great photographers don't have and don't care about the name brand of their gear, they see it for what it is, a tool to use for that purpose. I still believe that true beautiful photography is from the person behind the camera the gear is just a means to an end. Bill will always be one of my heroes.

Jun 27 16 04:46 pm Link

Photographer

Know Idea

Posts: 2985

Los Angeles, California, US

"I don't pay attention to celebrities. I don't photograph them. They don't dress so... interestingly. They have stylists. I prefer real women who have their own taste." - Bill Cunningham

Jun 27 16 04:58 pm Link

Photographer

Posts: 5223

New York, New York, US

(struggling for the correct story and words, so many stories of watching him work.)

When the standard saying might be to say that there will never be another one such as him,


I certainly hope there is and will be more in the mold of Bill Cunnigham.

Jun 30 16 08:00 pm Link

Photographer

udor

Posts: 24578

New York, New York, US

I've met, shot and chatted a few words with him, as many colleagues did, during fashion weeks in NYC.

https://scontent-lga3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/13592241_607823069384810_3050060014252066045_n.jpg?oh=457dabbf4433eff2ab5b28b217025419&oe=57FA57F0

Jul 01 16 08:19 am Link

Photographer

udor

Posts: 24578

New York, New York, US

Greg Kolack wrote:
It made me think of all the chest puffing, exaggerations, pomposity, and self importance that is often present on these Forums. So much bragging about how much equipment one owns and how much money it cost, about brushing shoulders with so and so, who one knows and who one fucks, silly youtube videos, long lists of credits on the profile page, and expounding lots of often false info.

Bill doesn't need or do any of that - he just needs his eye and uses his brain to earn the respect he has today.

A truly admirable and humbling guy.

I think that most of those people who are known photographers, approaching 1/2 of a century in business... working for the most prestigious magazines or newspapers have to let others know about what they are doing.

You don't see Annie, Bruce, Patrick or Meissel on online boards trying to break through either...

What do you think that even Bill Cunningham would to today, if he would just start right now, without shooting for the New York Times?

I bet that there are probably thousands of equally talented photographers... maybe tens of thousands, world wide who are trying to get noticed... but the landscape of promotion and marketing has changed so much, that it is literally unrecognizable if directly compared.

I think it is a really difficult task to compare someone like Bill Cunningham, who is an icon and who has made it, decades before the internet, to the marketing efforts of people who, let's say, started out in the past five to ten years...

Jul 01 16 08:29 am Link