When I saw the charming documentary about fashion and street photographer Bill Cunningham last week, I was struck by his apartment’s lack of … well, everything! Mr. Cunningham is so absorbed by his passion for photography that there doesn’t seem to be any room left for anything else in his life, including furniture. The documentary Bill Cunningham New York follows the photographer around New York as he snaps shots of street fashion by day and swanky parties with the city's tastemakers at night. The filmmakers also sit down with Mr. Cunningham to discuss his life, including the fact that he was being relocated from his longtime studio apartment above Carnegie Hall.
I hesitate to call it an apartment, as the the small space lacked a private bathroom or kitchen facilities. And in place of furniture his little space contained file cabinet after file cabinet, each filled to capacity with photos and negatives, and books stacked on top of more books. There was but a single bed (that may have actually been built on a filing cabinet) and the rest of the space was filled with is work.
It’s fascinating to me to witness someone who is so passionate about his chosen profession that he doesn’t need the trappings of everyday life that seemingly enslave many of us. So much of what I do as a blogger and early adopter is chase after the newest trends and designs so Mr. Cunningham’s sparse lifestyle fascinates me. This man who has been documenting the style of everyday people while also attending swanky events as a fashion photographer for The New York Times has nothing more than his pictures to call his own. I admire that even if I couldn’t see being able to do it myself.
Bill Cunningham has since been relocated from his studio in Carnegie Hall to a new, modern apartment overlooking Central Park and wouldn’t you know it – he had the landlords remove some of the appliances to make room for file cabinets!
Images: Spread Art Culture, KPBS.org