I watched the Bill Cunningham documentary the other night about the legendary fashion photographer and I was struck by the simplicity of his lifestyle especially when contrasted with the glamour of his career. He famously went everywhere on a bicycle, lived in a tiny studio at Carnegie Hall with a hallway bathroom and wore a blue French workman’s jacket every day. There’s something so inspiring about this frugal and simple lifestyle that allowed him to take jobs for their creative freedom without the financial constraints and devote his time to doing what he loved; photographing beautiful clothes. https://zeitgeistfilms.com/sitelets/billcunninghamnewyork/
While I appreciate my creature comforts of a bathroom and a car, I love the idea of making decisions from a place of creativity rather than a place of financial need. Bill was a true minimalist, he only kept things that were of value to him which meant his tiny place was filled with filing cabinets of negatives and fashion books and magazines. He wouldn’t accept so much as a glass of a water at the charity events he photographed for the social pages and tore up cheques from Conde Nast after they bought his beloved Details magazine and he lost full creative control.
I love this fierce integrity and commitment to the work. How can we bring a piece of Bill’s lifestyle into our own? Live simply; streamline your wardrobe and your furniture. Only keep things that are of value to you. Do work you love. Work with passion and integrity. It’s not about the money. Treat everyone equally. Bill photographed the models on the runaway, the celebrities at parties and everyone on the street. He was inspired by the style of people living their everyday lives. Find beauty in everything and as Bill said, ‘he who seeks beauty will find it’. RIP Bill, you remain a true inspiration and a beacon for the simple life.
Love and light and bicycles xxx Yvette