A response to “Bill Cunningham”

Jake Freeman, staff writer and blogger

I recently watched the film “Bill Cunningham:New York” and felt compelled to write about it, because, well, Bill Cunningham is a person everyone should aspire to be (to an extent).

Bill Cunningham is synonymous with the fashion world and the happenings ofNew York City, if you didn’t already know. He has captivated the hearts of millions with his photographs ofNew York City’s night lift and his photographs of the fashion show that is theNew York Citystreets. Now, you may be saying “so what? Why is he different than any other street style photographer?” I was asking myself the same questions until I watched his compelling documentary.

Bill Cunningham is a symbol of truth and realism that is hard to find in today’s society. He has helped nurture magazines such as Details (prior to the Conde Nast take over) and Women’s Wear Daily without any compensation or benefits. He manages two columns for the New York Times, providing the world with a journal ofNew Yorklife and he does it all without receiving a dime. He is truly consumed by his art and happily so. He is a martyr of the egalitarian lifestyle and a symbol of art himself.

In today’s society, money is at the forefront of everything. Simplicity is lost to Americans and consumerism has taken over a portion of the American identity. People are constantly denying themselves their dreams in return for compensation. Though Bill takes the idea of living frugally to an extreme, I believe all Americans should look to him as an example. You don’t need the latest Comme Des Garcon knit or Chanel bag to make you happy. Lasting happiness doesn’t come from meaningless commodities, it comes from inner satisfaction. This film, along with a slow inner reflection process, has made me realize that I no longer need “stuff” to make me happy; I need peace of mind and I bet if you thought about it hard enough, that’s all you need too.