“I’m looking for the stunners.”

May 12, 2011

i haven’t been more invigorated by a movie, a person or their philosophy than i was tonight by bill cunningham new york, the documentary about this incredible man who has dedicated his entire life to clothes and how they’re worn on the street. it’s the story of a hard-working, honest, life-loving guy who just loves a great outfit, nothing more, nothing less. it’s easy to get bummed out on fashion these days with all the dime-a-dozen street style photos, self-absorbed fashion bloggers, & re-blogged images of every a, b & c-list celebrity in excruciatingly enormous heels. but bill is the o.g. new york street fashion photographer who’s unconcerned with fame and money and designer labels or any of that bs. he’s simply out there every day on the streets of manhattan to find the “stunners.”

riding his bike around the city (his 29th after 28 previously stolen ones!), bill spends his time on corners waiting for that one special outfit; at the ny times offices painstakingly laying out his pages for his cult-column, “on the street”; and at evening society events photographing the guests’ attire. his modest studio was in carnegie hall until they evicted the last of the tenants (a damn shame!!!) but his file cabinets and fashion books take up more room than his small cot and few blue smocks.

as a photographer, fashion-lover, and bicycle-rider, i feel a distinct connection to him that made my heart really melt. his energy, positivity, enthusiasm, honesty, and drive are completely intoxicating and make you want to enjoy everything as passionately as he does. he is the complete embodiment of one of the best lines in the movie, “he who seeks beauty will find it.” thank you for the inspiration bill, i can’t wait to get dressed tomorrow!!!!

“The problem is I’m not a good photographer. To be perfectly honest, I’m too shy. Not aggressive enough. Well, I’m not aggressive at all. I just loved to see wonderfully dressed women, and I still do. That’s all there is to it.”

“You spend days, weeks, years waiting for what I call a stunner.”

“There’s nothing new about this idea. People had been photographing the street since the camera was invented. But the difference for me is I don’t see the people I photograph. All I see are clothes. I’m only interested in people who look good. I’m looking for the stunners.”


quotes thanks to “bill on bill” ny times 2002. images via google & zeitgeist films.


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