Bill Cunningham: New York questions

What is Bill’s process?

From what I saw in the movie, Bill actually has been in love and still is. Fashion is in his heart, serving as his true love. He’s completely dedicated to do what he loves most the way he wants to and won’t let anyone stop him. He’s always riding on his bike to get around whenever he’s on the job. Never will he eat after he starts his process. Bill will only have a simple meal before he heads off. He usually does his photography trips every day. Sometimes he stays in the same spot for hours just to find something of interest to photograph, and sometimes he goes from event to event for just enough time to take the pictures that he wants.

How does he find his subjects?

Bill likes to wander around New York unless there is a specific fashion event that he wants to go to. From then on, anything that gets his interest or spurs him to bring his camera up to take a photo that is 100% fashionable to the veteran photographer. In his mind, the more natural the ‘models’ in his picture are, the better the quality of real fashion. He also catches any new fashion or trend that he finds on the streets.

Who are they?

These people are a just about anyone. Humans from the poorest neighbourhoods to some friends with important jobs are in his photographs. He also attends fashion shows, so he takes pictures of runway models as well.

How has his career lasted this long?

Over the years, this man has gotten a reputation for himself. His set back from his problems while trying to sell his own brand of hats did nothing to that. In fact, its part of what drove Bill to pursue his love for fashion. His excessive behaviour towards the things he wants to photograph gives him a sort of charm. Unlike the paparazzi, if you see him clicking away at the button that snaps his photos, it doesn’t mean that you’re famous, it means that you’re wearing something that he likes. Also, unlike most photographers, he least enjoys posy pictures. This is something so rare in a person that people can’t help but appreciate their raw-ness. That’s how he’s made many friends in many places. Many of them are big names in the fashion industry. Often, they dress up to events with Bill on their mind seeing as they’ll never know when he could show up. I think that they’re a big reason why he’s still going strong. His good taste also helps, giving him his current job for a newspaper to show the people of New York the fashions he finds on the streets and not from the celebrities living there.


How has he adapted to technology?

Bill was half able to keep up with today’s technology. He sticks to his film camera instead of the digital camera. When he needs to do work on a computer, he has his editor help him and try to explain how it works to him. Otherwise, he really has no care for the latest tech. He’d rather use what works for him and figures out other ways to compensate. It’s not that Bill hates technology either. He had no problem recording his voice to make a video version of his fashion article to satisfy his boss’ demand according to their readers.

This film is ostensibly about a fashion journalist. What else is it about? What themes/issues/subtexts are explored in Bill Cunningham: New York?

Nothing seemed to really show except the fact that the entertainment business has corrupted the world of fashion. That and the fact that the office building that Bill works at might not be his home anymore. The city wants to force him to move out and find a new place to start over. They forget that this man should be living in luxury for all the sweat and blood metaphorically put into his work. Some people have already declared him to be the most important person in the fashion world. He also won an award for his contribution to fashion and photography. Yet New York doesn’t want to acknowledge this, and so Bill continues to fight for what he wants and where he wants until his dying breath.


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