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Bill Cunningham: From the Street to the Museum


Bill Cunningham

The New York Times‘ Bill Cunningham is the founding father of street-style photography, not to mention a legend among the style set. But the 84-year-old lensman, whose warm smile and signature blue windbreaker somehow manage to melt even the iciest hearts during fashion week, isn’t skilled at snapping only the impossibly chic on the fly, as will be evidenced by an upcoming exhibition at the New-York Historical Society. Back in 1968, the photographer began working on Facades, an eight-year project through which he aimed to document New York’s architectural and sartorial history. Cunningham snatched up Victorian-style wares from the city’s vintage markets and thrift stores, and hunted for shoot locations while riding his trusty bicycle (how else?). The result was a series of black-and-white snaps featuring models (including his muse and former neighbor, the late photographer Editta Sherman) dressed up in front of iconic New York backdrops and graffitied subway cars. Featuring eighty-eight silver gelatin prints, the show opens on March 14.

Photo: Bill Cunningham, via the New-York Historical Society

Dept. of Culture