Illustrious New York Times Fashion Photographer Bill Cunningham Dead at 87

Bill Cunningham, the legendary New York Times fashion photographer, has died at 87.

The rich and famous made appearances in his "On The Street" column for the New York Times's Style section, but most of Cunningham's favorite recurring subjects were nothing of the sort.

Cunningham had worked for the publication for almost 40 years, and his quirky street-style essays were a staple of its Sunday edition.

Cunninghams dedicated approach to his work was inimitable – at 87, come rain, shine, or, in the case of many a February fashion week, blizzard, he would hit the streets of NY, riding his bicycle and wearing his signature blue jacket.

But Cunningham used fashion as a lens to chronicle his changing times.

William John Cunningham Jr. was born in Boston in 1929, the second of four children in an Irish-Catholic family. He moved to NY after dropping out of Harvard where he began his career freelancing with Women's Wear Daily and became a regular contributor with the Times by the late 70's. In 2008, France's Ministry of Culture awarded him with the Order of Arts and Letters for his role in spreading the arts around the world.

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.

De Blasio added: "We will remember Bill's blue jacket and bicycle".

Cunningham also wrote fashion pieces for the Chicago Tribune and got his first camera around 1967, when he started taking photographs of people on the streets.

Bill was filmed cycling through the city and in his spartan studio in the Carnegie Hall building. When I get depressed at the office, I go out, and as soon as I'm on the street and see people, I feel better. I'm interested in capturing a moment with animation and spirit'. As Jacob Berenstein's obituary for the New York Times puts it, "he wanted to find subjects, not be the subject". He could often be seen riding his bicycle down the streets of NY to events.


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