Bill Cunningham has been called a fashion photographer, street photographer, journalist, cultural anthropologist and genuine human being.
|Bill Cunningham via The Washington Post|
The documentary Bill Cunningham New York! reminds us that all these labels are true and only scratch the surface. Sadly, the world woke up to the news of his passing yesterday. I think the Washington Post describes the importance of his work eloquently when Robin Givhan wrote,
His death also means that fashion reporting — and the wider world of journalism — has been been deflated, diluted, weakened. That is the more profound sadness.
Givhan alludes to the fact that Cunningham never was swayed by the wealth, glamour, or commodities that he observed. Cunningham profoundly observed that money is the cheapest thing, and that freedom and liberty were the most expensive. He refused to give up his artist freedom throughout his career which gained him much admiration for his honest portrayal of the world around him. He was an astute observer of those who were slaves to fashion, the changing social mores across decades, and the significant political and social messages found on the streets. It was Bill Cunningham who became the authentic fashion revolutionary.
It is a sad day indeed. Rest in peace Mr. Cunningham.