Late one afternoon, like so many afternoons before, I found myself wandering aimlessly with a mouse in one hand, staring blankly straight ahead. Click after soulless click, hopping from one numbing page to another, hoping to find gold but all I’d found were grits.
That was until ‘The best 50 movies of 2011’ (of course there are probably a million more sites claiming to have the same list but with totally different films). Most of the films I have never heard of, but one particular film caught my eye like a vice laced with super glue, perhaps because it was a documentary about a photographer living in New York.
The documentary was “BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK”, if you are into documentary / biography I am sure you’ll like this one; what a life :)
Talking about dedication to one’s trade, he is the manifestation of the word “Passion”, he literally sleeps with his work :) the art of photography may not be his main concern, he simply wanted to catalogue everything he believes is important in the world of fashion, perhaps that sounds too simplistic, but the way he goes about it and the way he thinks is so fascinating (in a very good way).
With over 3 decades worth of photographs, consisting of street fashion and important social events (for the New York Times), he had seen it all, oh, did I mention that he was born in 1928/1929!. There are many memorable points of view from Mr. Cunningham, one of my favourite is “You see if you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do kid. That’s the key to the whole thing, don’t touch money, is the worst thing you could do” (Bill Cunningham New York, 18:12 – 18:23).
I wonder what he will do, now that Kodak (sadly) is no more, only kidding, I think he uses Fuji films anyway (saw a few glimpses of green film boxes), will he ever move to digital? The way he takes a photo is like watching fencing at the Olympics; the camera starts down low just below the chest, with both hands on either side of the camera, then suddenly it comes up to his eye as fast as an alcoholic downing a shot of whiskey in a typical Hollywood cliché film, SNAP SNAP SNAP, a quick jab and it’s down again.
After the documentary all I wanted to do was to go out, buy a blue smock, steal a bike, ride down to Siam Paragon to take pictures :)