AFP New York, NY, United States
Jun 26, 2016, 02.00 AM
Credited with creating the genre of street fashion photography, legendary fashion photographer Bill Cunningham died Saturday, according to the New York Times where he worked for nearly 40 years. He was 87.
Cunningham, whose watchful eye brought images of New Yorkers – from the well-heeled to unsuspecting trendsetters – to the public, had been hospitalised recently after a stroke, the Times reported.
He was, as the Times called him, an "unlikely cultural anthropologist." He held a passion for capturing a subject or trend`s look, whatever it may be.
Cunningham, who plied New York in his trademark blue workman`s jacket with a camera slung around his neck and traveled on his bicycle, had an uncanny talent in unearthing major, even avant-garde trends on the street, on the catwalk or at glittering parties.
In a 2010 documentary about Cunningham, Anna Wintour, the powerful editor of American Vogue and one of the photographer`s muses, marveled at his ability to "see something, on the street or on the runway, that completely missed all of us. And in six months` time, that will be a trend!"
Tributes pour in
Frank Rich, a former New York Times columnist and executive producer of the HBO series "Veep," tweeted: "Bill Cunningham was as delightful and fascinating a person and colleague as he was as artist. An independent mind, big heart, no airs."
A 2008 recipient of France`s Legion of Honor, Cunningham was also named a living landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy in 2009.
"Today we lost a Living Landmark, not that he ever stood still. Let`s all be more fabulous in Bill`s memory," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio`s office wrote on Twitter.
De Blasio added: "We will remember Bill`s blue jacket and bicycle. But most of all we will remember the vivid, vivacious New York he captured in his photos."
The discreet man, born in Boston in 1929, "doesn`t say much," one of the founding editors of InStyle magazine, Hal Rubenstein, told AFP in 2014.
"His wealth of knowledge is absolutely staggering and he is self-effacing. He knows exactly who he is, he is nobody else`s guy but his own... It`s beyond scholarly."
Times publisher and chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr added: "His company was sought after by the fashion world`s rich and powerful, yet he remained one of the kindest, most gentle and humble people I have ever met."
"We have lost a legend, and I am personally heartbroken to have lost a friend," Sulzberger added.