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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 15 April 2012
Beautifully made and edited documentary about the great New York fashion photographer Bill Cunningham.

Bill is a small, hunched, elderly, deaf man with bad teeth and a Nikon film camera round his neck. He rides his bike through the streets of New York before chaining it to a lamppost (he's had 27 bikes stolen) and taking photographs of street fashion for the New York Times. In the evenings he cycles to glittering charity events and takes photographs of the clothes. Bill doesn't care how famous you are (his dismissive of celebrities in their "free dresses"). If you are wearing interesting clothes well he will make a photograph if not he'll look elsewhere.

A private and reserved man whose only interest is in recording the evolving fashion trends. He lives a spartan life in a tiny apartment in Carnegie Hall full of filing cabinets holding all the film he has ever exposed with hundreds of books on fashion tucked into every nook and cranny. Bill knows everybody who's anybody in New York but hardly anybody knows Bill. He goes to Paris for Fashion Week and waits patiently outside one of the shows with his invitation amongst all the other photographers. It looks like there's no space for for this little old man and the security person can't find his name on the list when someone rushes out of the building and leads him in "this is the most important person in the world" Bill gets seated in the front row but he will only photograph the clothes that are interesting.

The film has cameo appearances by the New York Glitterati and some wonderfully eccentric fellow residents of Carnegie Hall but the enigma which is Bill dominates.

Finally the film lifts a small corner of Bills facade and we get a hint of the price that his monomania has exacted from his emotional life.
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on 15 June 2012
An interesting insight into the life of an 80+ New York photographer who seems to work most of the day and night, such dedication can only be admired. Because it's such a unique film I think I can only give my biased opinion as both as a cyclist and photographer. The cinema showing this was in Leeds so I decided to buy the DVD and found it very enjoyable. From a photographic point of view the fact he still uses film and the fact that the New York Times tolerates this seems to be because he doesn't cost much. At least one magazine editor says "Bill" never cashed any of the cheques she gave him in payment and he says if you don't get paid for what you do then you can do what you want.

What he doesn't explain is where exactly he earns his money to allow him to carry out all this voluntary work. I am sure lots of very keen young photojournalists would find this DVD useful if only for his techniques used and his simple equipment. No 5K digital cameras here just a couple of hundred pounds in an old Nikon SLR and a couple of rolls film, not even auto focus. Lots of photographers could learn a lot from this eccentric octogenarian and the techniques used.

For the sake of spending a few pounds, which you would struggle to buy a pizza for, then it would be money well spent for an aspiring photographer or anyone interested in Bohemian lifestyles.
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on 9 August 2015
A documentary full of energy: its major value is to give us the same enthusiasm and curiosity for this character that he has for life and humans. He is one of major tellers of NY Fashion glamour, but he lives like an outsider, an alien who doesn't stop and always keeps on snapping. You see a forgotten spirit of conceiving photography, art and fashion as something alive, and it shows you the best side of NY. A must have documentary even if you are not a fashion (or photography) addicted. You will fall in love with this guy
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 September 2012
I watched this on Sky Arts. I am a semi-pro photographer but don't do fashion and I've never been to New York.

In this hyper digital age, seeing an elderly gentleman, in a disposable rain mac and getting about on an old bicycle shooting anybody and anything that goes by him on the streets of New York is truly amazing and inspiring. He then chains up his bike outside the New York Times swanky offices and unloads Fuji FILM! On the phone, he says only that he is the old man on the bike (to the developing lab, an ordinary store, down-town somewhere) and can someone called (Christian name, I forget) will pick up his prints?

Understatement is his key. He is chatty and engaging and has his own opinions as to how his piece in the paper should look. He lives in a tiny apartment that is part of the artist's studios connected to Carnegie Hall - it's full of boxes of negatives, floor to ceiling - and the entire block of tenants have to move. "A Kitchen, a bathroom?! Who wants to bother with that? I just want to be out taking pictures!".

As you can imagine a whole host of hyper colourful characters, who've either been his subjects or know of him add to the kaleidoscopic mix of contributors. It culminates with him covering the Paris fashion show, where he sits alongside the catwalk like an excited child, amongst all the young, beautiful and artificial people, still dressed in his blue anorak!

The best thing about this docu is that you definitely don't need to know about photography OR fashion. The human character here is the subject and it is all fascinating. For those of us who might be interested in anything more than this, it's a double delight.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 October 2015
This is about the unusual and devoted New York fashion photographer Bill Cunningham. Bill is a small elderly man (now 86) who carries a Nikon film camera round his neck. He rides his push bike through the streets of New York before chaining it to a lamp-post, this is because he's had 27 stolen! Bill has a good eye and starts taking photographs of street fashion for New York publications. In the evenings he cycles to glittering charity events and takes photographs of the fashion and people he finds inspiring. Bill tells us he is not interested in celebrities with their "free dresses".

We see that Bill is a private and reserved man whose only interest is in recording the evolving fashion trends. He lives a very frugal life in a tiny apartment with no private kitchen or bathroom, in Carnegie Hall. His apartment has little furniture but is full of filing cabinets holding all of his many films with hundreds of books on fashion tucked into every nook and cranny.

Bill appears to know everybody who's anybody in New York and also international fashion. He goes to Paris for Fashion Week and waits patiently outside one of the shows with his invitation and all the other photographers. Someone rushes out of the building and leads him in saying, "this is the most important person in the world" Bill gets seated in the front row but he will only photograph the clothes that are interesting to him, clothes that he feels real people could wear. Bill’s been around a long time, and really he’s seen it all before. Designers beware and take note.

The film has cameo appearances from the New York Glitterati and some wonderfully eccentric fellow residents of Carnegie Hall.

Towards the end of the film Bill is asked about his private life, he touches on the subject of homosexuality. He talks about his family’s expectations of him and you get the impression this has given him a strict code for life that has lead to the life he now lives alone. Bill is also a religious man, a man who goes to church every Sunday. When asked about this Bill cannot speak, he puts his head down trying with all his resolve to control his emotions. Once he is composed he tells us only that religion is important in his life. Ultimately fashion has been his life and only true love. A fascinating film, but it left me filled with sadness for a life emotionally half lived.

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I think this is a fantastic documentary about a photographer I had never previously come across. Bill Cunningham is a photographer for the New York times taking images on a film Nikon i.e. analogue not digital. he produces a page on street fashion each week and the documentary follows him doing this. it also delves into his personal life. living alone in a small studio apartment with no shower or WC. he has to share one down the hall.

The guy is a great character and well loved but determined in what he does and he has enormous passion. I wanted to watch the documentary over again straightaway.

Loved it!!
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on 4 May 2012
I always watch Bill's 'On the street" weekly report and was looking forward to seeing this film. The film shows Bill's passion for fashion and his lack of interest in the modern culture of celebrity. I wanted to know the real Bill, and the film delves into his past, including his stint in the Military and his family. Bill's use of the words 'child' and 'kid' made me laugh and you can't but wonder who will carry on Bill's column when he leaves us. Bill's flatmates are truly one offs and they are a key part of this documentary. Bill was riding his 27th bike when this was made - he's probably on his 30th now!
DW
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on 8 November 2015
As a massive fan of Iris and Advanced style this was just as good. Ex milliner come photographer Bill Cunnigham. He is an absolute delight as he cycles through NYC photographing the fashionistas. His personal life is very interesting as his his home in Carnegie hall - Wonderful
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on 29 March 2013
Inner circles in the fashion-world consider Bill Cunningham an icon; in many ways he is a walking encyclopaedia, what he knows about fashion isn't worth knowing. On top of that he's curious and a charming personality. Here one certainly gets "all" of him.
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on 28 February 2013
Bill has been photographing fashion for decades and this film is a wonderful peek into his life as fashion photographer for the New York Times. With his bicycle, blue jackets and camera round his neck he is a familiar sight in Manhattan snapping fashion as it happens, even before it happens. The man is a genius!
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