Yesterday afternoon as the sun began its descent over Manhattan, editors, socialites, philanthropists, models, and photographers alike, gathered at Carnegie Hall to pay tribute to the late Bill Cunningham. The event, which was organized by his editors at The New York Times, was live-streamed on Facebook, lasted just shy of two hours, and was something that all who took to the stage to speak of him said that he would have hated.
“Bill was endlessly devoted to his craft without an agenda,” said Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. who kicked off the event on a stage which remained empty the entire time, save for Bill’s infamous bicycle, cerulean blue anorak, and a makeshift corner lamppost reading 57th and Fifth Avenue, which has been named Bill Cunningham Corner since his death in June of this year. Sulzberger imagined that if the photographer were in attendance, he would most likely be outside the whole time, documenting “the fabulousness” of the audience who were invited to “dress for Bill.”
Comments from Cunningham’s coworkers painted a picture of a man who was truly adored. “Bill was not just a colleague or anything like that. He was my dearest friend,” said photo editor John Kurdewan, who served as Bill’s right hand man from 2008 and helped him every week with the layout of his Sunday Style pages. He then recalled personal memories of Bill’s birthday and of how the photographer would invite the whole team for Thanksgiving every year at his apartment, located only two blocks from Carnegie Hall. Later, other colleagues spoke of how Bill would only respond to Kurdewan’s voice shortly before he passed away—meaning that the doctors had to ask him to tell Bill what they needed him to do.
Other touching personal memories included anecdotes of Bill’s stubbornness and his unusual uses for the many gifts he was sent at The New York Times. “If any of you ever sent him an expensive anorak, scarf, or bicycle helmet, I can assure you that Bill never used a single one of them,” said philanthropist Diana DiMenna. “Apart from the helmets, which he liked to use as sorting buckets for tidbits underneath his desk.”
Husband and wife duo, Joan and Sandy Weill applauded Cunningham’s active documentation of the charity circuit and told stories of how Sandy was tasked with relocating Cunningham after his Carnegie Hall apartment was shuttered for renovation. Known for his modest way of life (Cunningham’s bed frame was famously made from upturned plastic milk crates), the photographer didn’t have many requirements for a new home, apart from one specific ask which turned out to be illegal. “He hated cleaning the bathroom, so he wanted an apartment with a restroom in the hallway,” Sandy recalled. “Evidently that’s illegal, so I offered to come and clean the bathroom every Friday—a pitch that he thankfully never took me up on.”
Offering unexpected insight into an intensely private man was Cunningham’s niece, Trish Jarvis Simonson. She spoke close to the end of memorial and shared family photographs and memories of her “Uncle Billy,” who would travel back to his childhood home in Boston at Christmas with extravagant gingerbread houses that he bought for them in New York.
After the ceremony wrapped, one quote from Bill was projected onto the stage screen. “He who seeks beauty will find it,” it read. It was a fitting tribute to a man who celebrated individuality, chronicling the ever-changing face of modern identity through his unstaged and unairbrushed photography—and a reminder to us all that only we can stand in the way of or broaden what we see.END
prev link: https://crfashionbook.com/fashion/a9572208/remembering-bill-cunningham/
createdAt:Thu, 27 Apr 2017 20:01:23 +0000