“He who seeks beauty will find it,” says Bill Cunningham, a eighty-something year old fashion photographer for the New York Times.
Then there’s the people like me. I just ran into beautiful one night when my hubby was working late and the kids were sleeping.
Bored, I found myself browsing the documentary section of our Netflix online account looking for a decent flick to watch for an hour or two before bed.
Little did I know that Bill Cunningham, an 80-something year old fashion photographer for the New York Times, would completely sweep my imagination right off its own two feet.
When drafted for World War 2, he served our country happily, despite the best efforts of an affluent New York City family to stop him because they’d recently invested $1,000 into his young millinery business.
His take on that experience?
“If you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do, kid.”
He lived out this lesson with remarkable integrity.
Conde Nast purchased a magazine he helped publish in the 1980’s. He never cashed the check.
Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine explains, “Bill’s the only one we really dress for,” and Oscar de la Renta has said, “More than anyone else in the city, he has the whole visual history of the last 40 or 50 years of New York. It’s the total scope of fashion in the life of New York.”
Despite earning the respect of these fashion moguls, Bill lives in a rent control apartment with nothing more than filing cabinets overflowing with the collection of his life’s work, rides a bicycle and wears a rain slicker held together by duct tape.
He may have chosen simplicity over extravagance, but he is a man rich with a long purposeful life and infectious joy.
If you seek beauty, I highly suggest Bill Cunningham New York.