Bill Cunningham – Why I Am Who I Am

Bill Cunningham is a man who changed my life, for the better and forever. After being a late starter to the Netflix hysteria around 3 years ago I was watching the documentary ‘The September Issue‘ a deep and intrusive look on how American Vogues September issue is put together. Straight after that doc, ‘Bill Cunningham New York’ came up on my suggestions. Since it was only 2am and I had to be up for sixth form at 7am, I had already overstayed my welcome so thought ‘why not’ to watching another documentary. I had nothing to loose.

I must have watched it every day for about 2 weeks, I officially adored this man, who he was, his work and everything he did. His life not only inspired me but it helped me realise that I wanted to be a journalist. And also that my A-Level subjects (photography, media studies and english language) were luckily perfect in helping me do so.

Cunningham’s idea of photographing women and men on the streets of New York and referring to them as fashions real icons was refreshing to hear. After spending a rather ridiculous amount of time watching the documentary over and over again I started looking at university courses to figure out my options and finally settled on multimedia journalism.

Bill Cunningham made me want to be a journalist and he made me want to photograph fashion and be interested in people. I hope to be able to achieve and work at a level similar to the one of this great man and believe he should have more recognition for his entire life’s work contributing to the fashion industry and his career as a fashion columnist for The New York Times.

My first year of university was nothing other than shocking, It was something I’m definitely not proud of as I think I only just scraped through with my results enough to get in to my second year. I say it every year but this one will count and I’m pretty excited (lol sad).

The day Bill Cunningham died was horrible, I never expected it. I was at a house party and some randomer from my college tweeted ‘so sad to hear about Bill Cunningham RIP’ I ran out of the house and checked the news, it was right there. He had passed away and I cried. The man who inspired me to go to university, make something of myself and talk about fashion in a different way that includes everyone and not just models and celebrities, had left the earth just as I was about to start my career. I still watch that documentary despite it being taken off Netflix (what the fuck Netflix) and he still inspires me now as I read more and more of his work, I hope to one day go to New York and recreate some of his images myself, using him as my muse.

This was just meant to be a small post of my inspiration as I think I need a bit of it right now and maybe it might help one of you.

Who inspires you? Who makes you want to be better?

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– Melissa

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