Six sense for style
THE famously reclusive photographer Bill Cunningham has always believed his place is behind the camera.
So it borders on miraculous that the iconic New York Times lensman agreed to participate in this spellbinding documentary on his life and work. First- time filmmaker Richard Press is to be commended for coaxing his mysterious subject out into the spotlight. It took a number of false starts over a decade, but the wait has turned out to be well and truly worth it.
Cunningham is no ordinary newspaper snapper. That much is apparent as soon as we are introduced to his unusual methods.
Each weekday, Cunningham ( pictured, believed to be anywhere between 80 and 90 years of age) hops on a bike and pedals up and down the main drags of Manhattan.
His primary interest is fashion and, to Cunningham, the sidewalks are catwalks. How people express themselves through how they dress is a source of endless fascination to him.
As the documentary wears on, it is clear his obsession with clothes, accessories and presentation have arguably ruined his life and yet also kept him remarkably young for his age.
Cunningham’s Rain Man- like attention to detail manifests itself on the pages of the Times as an incisively soulful celebration of fashion in its endlessly varied forms.
One week he might zero in on nothing but shoelaces, the next he has devoted two broadsheet pages to images of folds in skirts.
Somehow, without so much as an explanation, Cunningham’s sixth sense for style not only identifies trends as they are happening on the streets of New York but, in his own unique way, he is setting trends as well. www. zeitgeistfilms. com/ billcunningham newyork/
Now showing State Cinemas