Bill Cunningham - the New York Times street style photographer with a keen eye and a soft spot in the hearts of New Yorkers and many beyond - has died at age 87. His death was reported by the Times on Saturday.
Cunningham, who rode a bicycle around NY in his trademark blue workman's jacket with a camera slung around his neck, had an uncanny talent for unearthing major, even avant-garde trends on the street, on the catwalk or at glittering parties.
The Times' publisher and chairman, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., said he was "personally heartbroken to have lost a friend" and legend. The film, which debuted to rave reviews, showed just how incredibly humble the photographer was, despite an iconic career in the industry that included a Legion d'Honneur in France and being named a Living Landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy.
Cunningham was born in Boston in 1929, and he attended Harvard University for a short time before dropping out and moving to NY.
During my most ambitious years, from 21 through 44, I spent my time with feet planted in two worlds: fashion and writing.
In 2010, he was the subject of a documentary, 'Bill Cunningham New York,' which premiered at the Museum of Modern Art. "Let's all be more fabulous in Bill's memory", New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's office wrote on Twitter. Don't ever underestimate fashion, especially street clothes, because this is the stuff of dreams that dare to become reality. I just loved to see wonderfully dressed women, and I still do.
"When I'm photographing", The Times quoted Mr. Cunningham as saying, "I look for the personal style with which something is worn-sometimes even how an umbrella is carried or how a coat is held closed".
His regular features "On the Street" and "Evening Hours" were testaments to the shifting world of city fashion, showing how the definition of style varied for New Yorkers of all different stripes. I know what people with a more formal attitude mean when they say they're horrified by what they see on the street.
Cunningham's life was one of austerity.
In an autobiographical article he wrote for the Times in 2002, Cunningham revealed that his first experience with fashion came from working as a stockboy for a Bonwit Teller store in Boston.
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