I didn’t know what to expect when I entered the theater to watch Bill Cunningham New York a documentary following New York Times’ fashion photographer. I was pleasantly surprised to find not only was it light hearted and visually dynamic, but also personally moving in ways I did not anticipate. When the documentary opens and you meet Bill, you almost do a double-take, because here is someone who is exactly the opposite of today’s fashion guru; male, short, humble, older than 30, likes to smile, and wears a blue smock.
As the documentary progresses you find out more about this busy, busy, man who is proud of the fact that he does not photograph anyone. As he says in the film he does not photograph people because of who they are, but because of what they are wearing. He is infamous for attending runway events and when a stunning model will strut down the catwalk he does not photograph them, because what they were wearing was simply not interesting.
One particular aspect I found distracting was a technique used on still photos when the camera would zoom in slightly; at some moments it seemed creative and almost like Bill himself was snapping a photo, but at other moments it seemed abrupt and jarring. Overall, I loved the documentary and found myself teary eyed during the last few moments when Bill is questioned about having romantic relationships in his life. He simply says not a single one, his love is for fashion.