Bill Cunningham: the first street style photographer


'I've said many times that we all get dressed for Bill'' Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue.

"I'm not drawn to something awful. I wouldn't even see that. I'm looking for something that has beauty" Bill Cunningham by Lauren Collins.


I believe in our minds street style photography is considered to be just a recent occupation that started back in 2005, by Scott Schuman aka ''The Sartorialist''. Scott Schuman, who from a fashion sales person became the pioneer of fashion photography in blog form, is indeed an amazing entrepreneur but we should always remember that Bill Cunningham is the 'father' of street style photography.

BCNY 1stOntheStreet

BC_NY: 1st ''On the Street'' spread, December 30, 1978


His first spread for The New York Times entitled ''57th and Fifth: A Holiday Magnet for the World'', was published in December 30, 1978. According to his editor, Arthur Gelb, these photographs were "a turning point for the Times, because it was the first time the paper had run pictures of well-known people without getting their permission." (Wikipedia)

Wow, whenever I think- I mean really think- how long ago the year 1978 was and how 'avant-garde' this must have been for the time, I feel only but pure admiration for his person. Even in our times, especially in Greece, people look suspicious whenever someone asks them to get their photograph taken. Imagine back then! He must have looked as he came from another planet, or something like this! Maybe that is why in his first spread I believe I can detect also a question mark drawn in most people's faces apart from their surprised, in a good way, smiles.

Bill Cunningham is for decades chronicling fashion trends and the passing scene for the Times Style section in his columns ''On the street'' and ''Evening Hours'', by photographing people in the streets of Manhattan during the day and celebrities, socialites and fashion personalities at night.








All photos via

Bill Cunningham wasn't always a photographer. He first started as a miliner...





Cunningham's creations. All photos via


In 2010, a film dedicated to the life but mainly the work of Bill Cunningham came out directed by Richard Press. Below you can see the poster of the film.

BCNY poster hires

And here, you can watch the trailer:

I must admit, I was a little beat shocked by the photos from the inside of his apartment in New York. But on the other hand, these photos best describe how dedicated he is to what he is doing and what matters to him most as a person.

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bcny gallery9


The film received excellent reviews and article critiques, so I can't wait to watch it! I hope only to find it in a video club, otherwise, I 'll have to download it!

Hope you got inspired by this man, as much as I did! At the recent fifth annual Carnegie Hall Medal of Excellence gala, Bill Cunningham was honoured once again for his work and amazing lifetime achievements! You can see picture from the night here.

Until next time...
Have a great rest of the week and enjoy the sun!


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