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Bill Cunningham: A Sighting to Revere

“I’m not a photographer, I’m a columnist who writes with pictures,” Bill Cunningham said to Tiina Loite, a New York Times photo editor who worked closely with Cunningham during her 30-year career at the Times.

On the Street with Bill Cunningham, an exhibition on view at The Colorado Photographic Arts Center (CPAC) in Denver through February 24, 2018, celebrates Cunningham’s candid fashion photographs of people roaming New York City streets. CPAC partnered with the New York Times to bring the exhibition, which includes audio clips of Cunningham speaking about his work, to Denver.

Cunningham dropped out Harvard and designed women’s hats before writing about fashion for Women’s Wear Daily and the Chicago Tribune. He was noticed by the New York Times in 1978 when he began making straightforward images of fashion trends in New York. He typically captured men and women in an unguarded moment. For the next four decades, Cunningham traveled the city’s streets on a bicycle, working for the New York Times until his death in 2016 at age 87. For New Yorkers in the know, a sighting of Cunningham in his signature black sneakers and blue work man’s jacket, with his camera around his neck, was something to revere.

“When you see his images up close, you can really appreciate Cunningham’s eye for detail and uncanny ability to wait for the right moment,” said Samantha Johnston, the Executive Director of CPAC, in the press release. “Not only was he a talented photographer, writer, and tireless editor, but he brought incredible passion and joy to his work. He’s someone we can all learn from.”

Related Articles
Shelia Metzner’s Delicate Glamour
Guy Bourdin’s Early Street Photographs of Paris
Obituary: Bill Cunningham, Street Fashion Photographer, 87 (for PDN subscribers; login required)


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