Bill Cunningham, Legendary NYC Fashion Photographer, Dies at 87

Bill Cunningham, a fashion photographer for The New York Times, passed away in Manhattan in late June at the age of 87. Cunningham had been hospitalized recently after having a stroke.

Cunningham was known for taking photos of everyday people on the streets of New York City.

According to CBS News, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio showed his respect to Cunningham and said Cunningham will be remembered by his trademark blue jacket, traveling bicycle, camera bag, and most of all, the “vivid, vivacious New York he captured in his photos.”

Models, designers, members of the media, and the fashion industry’s elite took to social media to pay their respects to Cunningham and his family.

“His company was sought after by the fashion world’s rich and powerful,” said Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., the chairman and publisher for the Times, “yet he remained on 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.”

Cunningham had been taking photos since 1967 and started contributing to The Times in the 1970s. He wouldn’t take a full-time position on the staff because he wanted full control.

“You see, if you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do,” Cunningham would say laughingly. “That’s the key to the whole thing.”

Cunningham used a classic manual-focus Nikon FM2 camera for years and finally switched to digital photography in 2011. Today, even a 3-megapixel camera can take higher resolution photos than most computer monitors can even display.

In his column in 2002, Cunningham addressed his thoughts on fashion that perfectly sums up his illustrious career.

“Fashion is as vital and as interesting today as ever,” Cunningham wrote. “I know what people with a more formal attitude mean when they say they’re horrified by what they see on the street. But fashion is doing its job. It’s mirroring exactly our times.”

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