Cunningham has dedicated himself to capturing fashion both on the streets of New York City and on the runways. He has been known to call out designers when they've copied off of a past runway offering; he also noticed adeptly that Japanese fashion of the '80s resembled the clothing worn by the homeless in New York City.
A humble man, Bill Cunningham is able to discern the quality of fashion in large part because he removes himself from the celebrity, glamor, drink and social climbing that is so often conflated with fashion. In his acceptance speech during his induction to the French Order of Arts and Letters, he shunned celebrities in their free dresses. The trend of designers advertising through celebrities and their followers desire to be seen is the antithesis of how Bill conducts his life. He refuses to look at guests lists and often will feature an unknown woman in the New York Times for finding and stunningly wearing a dress.
He has hones and respects his craft, always retraining his eyes and evaluating the fashion he captures. He says that he isn't a skilled photographer: he simply shares how he sees the world. We are all striving to communicate to others our vision of the world. Few of us have the patience, dedication and sense of service to remain on a single topic for a lifetime. Though after viewing this documentary, I wonder if there is any other way to come close to sharing my own vision. Bill's complete dedication to capturing fashion is matched only with the one hour every Sunday he attends Mass.
Bill, take a picture of me! I'm working on a poetic look here in Los Angeles for you. Until then, may you find respite in your new home.