Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Man Bill

I was extremely excited when Danielle invited me to an advanced screening of the new documentary  Bill Cunningham New York. I have spoken about my love and respect for Bill before, but in case you don't know or remember, Bill Cunningham is a photographer for The New York Times who has been taking pictures of New York street fashion and society pages for decades.

Bill is definitely a character.  Even though he goes to fashion shows and is often photographing high society people, he wears the same outfit everyday, he rides his bike everywhere, and for many years, he lived in a teeny tiny apartment at Carnegie Hall...with a bathroom down the hall. He's the only New York Times photographer who still shoots in film.  Everyone in fashion knows who he is, loves him, but no one really knows him.

Bill's a very private person, so I was surprised this documentary was even made, and I am so glad that I did because he is such a joy. Despite his quirky self, the thing that really shines through is a true joie de vivre. This guy LOVES what he does. He basically doesn't do anything else. His whole life is fashion and taking pictures. He is not at all jaded and seems genuinely captivated with the world around him.  The filmmakers answered questions after the screening and one of them said that the best thing about Bill was that he had the sort of innocence you would only find in a kid, which inspired them to look at life in that way.

In the movie, they show Bill giving a speech for a rare award that he actually accepted (he is known to turn down awards and paychecks for his work) and in his speech he said "He who seeks beauty will find it" and he actually got choked up and started crying saying this. I love this man.

The movie is playing limited runs in New York and Los Angeles, so please go see it or put it on your Netflix queue NOW. You won't regret it.


Alyssa said...

Yvonne, I love your blog. I love that Dan has started to write it with you. You guys are awesome writers together. I definitely want to watch this documentary. How you even know about Bill Cunningham is beyond me, but you are always in the know.

Danielle said...

Yvonne - I am so glad we had the chance to go to this movie. My hope is that we all can find a little of the happiness Bill radiates.


Yvonne said...

Hey Alyssa, glad to know you're a reader! Thank you. Danielle--agreed!