I am not what you would call someone who is overly obsessed with fashion, or how I look. Shoes? Pants? Shirt? Zipper up? Belt buckled? Good to go. I wear cheap shoes, cheap jeans, and moderately expensive LL Bean shirts.
So why am I watching a movie called Bill Cunningham New York? A documentary about a fashion photographer who writes for The New York Times?
Honestly, it was because I had a few hours to kill before work, and this was the only thing playing from start to finish in this time frame. Hey, there are worse reasons to see a movie.
So this is a documentary about a guy named Bill Cunningham. I mentioned he photographs and writes a column for The New York Times. I like documentaries because they give you an opportunity to learn about a person or subculture that, without said documentary, you would know very little about. Really, they’re kind of fascinating. (There’s a very interesting one – Netflix streaming! – about the guys who work at a parking lot. It’s called The Parking Lot Movie.
In brief: Cunningham’s 80 years old. He did a stint in the Army during the 50s, designed hats, and then branched out into fashion photography, which is how people know him now. He’s famous in that industry, apparently, and yet very few people actually know anything about him (who he is is sort of the point of the documentary). He puts tape on his ripped ponchos, buys cheap worker jackets, and has had 28 bicycles stolen from him. He’s also so concerned with his journalistic ethos that, when working and photographing events, refuses to eat or drink anything — even a cup of water. When a magazine he worked for was bought by Conde Nast, he didn’t cash the (apparently large) check he’d been given.
Really – he’s just quite a private, interesting character. And for the fashion industry, for which I could’ve honestly said “everything I know is from The Devil Wears Prada“, he’s a remarkably un-judgemental individual (those exist in fashion?!).
And since goodness knows, a lot of folks have been asking for this film’s poster, guess what? It’s available on Amazon.. You can get a pretty good deal on poster frames at Michael’s, FYI.