Bill Cunningham New York review

Bill is a photographer for the New York Times, taking pictures whenever and wherever he is. He loves his work, and it’s clear to see, he even says it, but it’s not his words that convince us, it’s his expressions. When he’s taking pictures, whether that’s on the street, in a friends house, or at his own party and award ceremony, he is always taking pictures, and he is always smiling.

Bill’s life is all about fashion, and like fashion, his work is never done. He wakes up, gets on his bicycle, and rides around New York, he then picks a spot and waits. He waits until someone passes by wearing something that interests him. As he says “It’s not about the celebrities, it’s about the clothes.” Bill doesn’t care about the celebrities themselves, nor even the people, and while that might sound cold by not caring about people, it’s not meant in that way, he focuses on the clothes and nothing else, he doesn’t care who is wearing them.

Many people that walk past don’t even know that they are being photographed. It is all natural, which always make the best photos. Bill is all about natural photos, even in fashion shows he knows that the photographers all sit at the back to get straight on photos, but he sits in the front row seats at the sides, believing that fashion needs angles.

Bill has a very minimalistic way of life, he lives in his small place, almost one room. His place is filled with file cabinets; is bed is a small single bed surrounded by the cabinets. He has no kitchen, no bathroom as that’s in the hallway, he barely has any room for anything. His work has consumed his life, he lives and breathes his work. He says that he has no time for most things, movies, TV, games, he doesn’t even cook, he goes to stores to get his food, he is too busy with work for even the basic living conveniences. He never even touches money, many times it’s told that he has refused money from various people and organisations so they don’t own him, as he says “You see, if you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do, kid.” He values his freedom and wants to do what he wants with his work.  He is a perfectionist, as we see him and John, his assistant with computers, figure out how they are going to lay out the page; he is constantly changing the size, shape and position of the photos and text, constantly trying to improve it.

Bill is kind and very humble, believing that he doesn’t deserve the award he receives in the film because what he does in his own eyes, isn’t work. In his own words “I don’t work. I only know how to have fun every day.” Those who do what they love for a career are very lucky and don’t usually consider what they do as work, but it feels a little deeper with Bill. It could be that Bill sees the people in his photographs as the true stars, the true workers, it could be that due to his humble nature that he doesn’t feel he can take credit for the clothes that other people wear, the work that people put into their own appearance, while he himself merely just photographs them.

Bill is a man dedicated to his craft, a perfectionist who forgoes a lot in life that many people might even deem necessary, it seems like he even forgoes normal friendships and relationships for his work. Even if he forgoes a lot, he is happy, a very nice man, and bought a lot of people happiness. He lives a life he wants to live and doesn’t care what anyone might think of him. Living life like you want is an amazing thing.

8/10

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