Thank You Bill Cunningham

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Thank you Bill Cunnigham

We have a lot of reasons to thank New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham. Photographer, innovator, fashion observer and icon of the New York fashion scene, Bill was the inspiration for Cocktail Revolution. Documenting fashion as it’s worn by real people on the streets of New York City, Bill became a familiar and famous sight, riding around the streets on various incarnations of his bicycle that had been stolen multiple times. Self-taught, he snapped fashion trends as he observed them. Bill invented street style photography. We saw what he was doing in NYC and thought heck yeah! We need to do this in Australia. And so what Bill did informs every weekly street style gallery we post.

Bill cunningham at work

Photograph: Jeff Nash, New York times

Quotes from Bill are our mantra:

“The best fashion show is definitely on the street. Always has been, and always will be.”

“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.”

“The main thing I love about street photography is that you find the answers you don’t see at the fashion shows. You find information for readers so they can visualize themselves.”

“All the people who tell the truth are in the last rows.”

He became most famous for taking pictures of regular people. He said he preferred the way non-celebrities would wear real clothes that they had picked out themselves, rather than celebrities who more often would wear clothes that were given to them for free. “I’m not interested in celebrities with their free dresses”, he said. Editor of the New York Times Dean Baquet, said about him: “To see a Bill Cunningham street spread was to see all of New York. Young people. Brown people. People who spent fortunes on fashion and people who just had a strut and knew how to put an outfit together.”

Photo: Jeff Nash, New York Times

Photo: Jeff Nash, New York Times

Everything he did over the last 40 years is everything we are trying to do now. Authentic street style fashion photography is still such a relatively new thing in Australia that all our photographers have been new to the genre when they started with us.

Our role is to capture real people and what they are wearing, how they’ve styled themselves as they traverse real streets. Real people don’t all have the same “look”. They are diverse. They have individual tastes. They have style preferences that are different to each other. They may or may not be very interested in fashion. They are of Asian, African, Eurasian, Causasian, and Aboriginal descent. They are people like you. Actually, they are you! #gettingphilosophicalhere #abitheavy

Photograph: Jeff Nash, New York Times

Photograph: Jeff Nash, New York Times

Bill Cunningham, you inspired us to do what we do. No, we never met you, but we’re still  saddened to think how those streets of NYC no longer rise up to meet you. The fashionistas of New York are still out there and no doubt someone else will pick up the mantle. But we loved seeing NYC through your lens and though we know we’ll never see things in quite the same way again, we’ll continue to observe fashion as it’s worn in the streets.

Our lenses are focused on Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth. If you like what we do, you can thank Bill Cunningham. As we do.

Thank you Bill Cunningham. Legend.

Bill Cunningham passed away last Saturday aged 87. He continued his work photographing people on the streets of New York City until he had a stroke a few days before be passed.

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