Bill Cunningham, the original street photographer and one of the world’s most profound fashion photographers, passed away over the weekend. The New York Times, the home to Cunningham’s creativity for nearly 40 years, confirmed the news two days after his hospitalization after suffering a stroke.
Cunningham was committed to expression, humankind, silhouette and style. His New York Times columns, “On the Street” and “Evening Hours” were a weekly curation of cultural anthropology and the wings behind his artistic flight within the fashion and art community. New Yorkers welcomed Cunningham’s lens as it randomly popped up all over the city, but mainly outside Bergdorf Goodman on 57th Street and Fifth Avenue. Many of Cunningham’s captured individuals would be oblivious to his camera. This was Cunningham’s most special trait; his discreet method and lack of attention to his own celebrity. “Money is the cheapest thing. Freedom is the most expensive thing,” Cunningham once said.
“I remember when Bill did our fashion reports for Visionaire. He would want to talk about the layouts or make text changes really really early in the morning, so I got into the habit of going to sleep with a print out of his layouts and a pencil next to the phone next to my bed,” Cecilia Dean said.
Since the beginning of Visionaire in 1991, Bill Cunningham has contributed to our issues. He was a kick starter in Visionaire’s infancy when former founder Stephen Gan met him at the age of 18. A total of 11 Visionaries, including the very first issue, has Cunningham’s name credited. Our founding fathers–Cecilia, James and Stephen–held a close relationship with him. Visionaire would like to send our sincerest condolences and thoughts to all who knew and loved Bill Cunningham. His legacy will live on to remind us to never stop chasing our passion.