Genius amongst the geniuses, gentle amongst the gentlemen, Bill Cunningham passed away on June 25, 2016. I discovered him—like many others, I’m sure—too late in life via the documentary named after him. I was right away impressed by his work ethic. A Harvard dropout, Bill published candid street photography for over 40 years in his own section On The Street at The New York Times. Perched with his characteristic blue coat, Bill took photos daily, most of which never saw the light of day. His house was packed floor to ceiling with negatives, photos, and magazines.
Bill Cunningham was a photographer who didn’t obsess over his camera gear or his photographic technique. He took photos to uncover the fashion zeitgeist of the streets of New York. Lesley Vinson, former Art Director of Details magazine puts it best:
He taught me how to tell a story with pictures and that it didn’t always involve the best image. I’d say to him, “But isn’t this a better photo?” And he’d say, “Yes, child, but this photo tells the story better.” For him, it wasn’t about the aesthetics of photography. It was about storytelling.
Don’t let technique get in the way of your stories.
For more life lessons on Bill check out What Bill Cunningham taught me about life, love and photography or go watch the documentary.