Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Master….Bill Cunningham, Paris

I was sitting next to Mr. Cunningham during the Viktor & Rolf show this past October.

It was so charming to see how excited he still gets at a great show. I’m sure it’s his natural enthusiasm and not the typical “seen it all before” blase ,so common in fashion, that’s kept him going all these years.

Everytime I think I’ve accomplished a little something with this blog, I think of him and realize I have another 35 years before I can even start feeling that way.


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  1. Emily McGuire

    December 3, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    That realisation must feel exciting!

  2. Ammu

    December 3, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    He's brilliant and so are you – I look forward to many more books from you :)

  3. Anonymous

    December 3, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    I love him, his snaps and his commentary in the Times online. he enjoys his work so much and so do I!

  4. Anonymous

    December 3, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    a kind of (eye) guide ?

  5. Froulala

    December 3, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    I love Bill Cunningham. You're right! It is his joie de vivre that keeps him fresh.

  6. leyla a.

    December 3, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    When you truly love something, there is no limit to how long and how hard you will work.

    I work in the event business and (even though I am much younger than he is), I still get very excited at a successful event.

  7. theTrendyDwarf

    December 3, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Truly inspirational. I want to be like that when I grow old. Enthusiastic about my job and what I do.
    check out my trendy blog!

  8. Jody

    December 3, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    you have undeniably captured Mr. Cunningham's "natural enthusiasm".
    Fantastic work!

  9. stumpette

    December 3, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    you have accomplished inspiring us! and you have accomplished making me feel that the stuff in my closet can look as chic (almost) as high end fashion.

  10. servizio

    December 3, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Bill Cunningham is truly wonderful. His "On the Street" features are a delight.

    As you say, it's his enthusiasm and delight in the charm and beauty of everyday detail that make his photos, comments and person so marvellous. He's a real hero of mine.

    Marian D

  11. Jessica

    December 3, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Gosh that is wonderful to hear!

  12. Blade

    December 3, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    He is the greatest. It was his work that inspired me to go out and do candid street fashion. Have a look at the link below


  13. Fashion 1 on 1

    December 3, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    That's what I looking forward the most: Do what I most the love for living.
    I love your blog btw. very exciting.

  14. Ken's Lounge

    December 3, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Bill makes my day evertime I view his column or slideshow on the NYT website. Such a delightful man , stil full of enthusiasm for the streets of New York and Paris.

  15. ce

    December 3, 2009 at 6:05 pm

  16. princess glee

    December 3, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    You're setting yourself up for even further greatness…nice.


    December 3, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    I wouldn't get surprised, he's one of the very few who Loves fashion. Yes, for me 90% of people don't love fashion, don't even know who was the first Haute Couture designer in the world.


  18. Polly Farthing

    December 3, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    I really enjoyed this post and that photo is wonderful.

    Polly x

  19. gordon Tiemstra

    December 3, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    The 'seen it all before' – feeling will especially not rise during the Viktor & Rolf show since they are always refreshing and spectacular!

  20. Sigivald

    December 3, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    And still shooting film, no less!

    And manual focus, if I'm not mistaken and that's an F3.

    Refreshing, really.

  21. Holly

    December 3, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    You are so right Scott…each day we have is another day to grow…

  22. Buki

    December 3, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Bill is AMAZING! I really admire his humility despite his great accomplishments. Props:)

  23. René Fragoso

    December 3, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    This is just a breathe taking shot. Thanks Mr. Sartorialist.

  24. S Milano

    December 3, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    yes I think he's great, I watch his video clips on NYC fashion in the New York Times website every time and I'm not even from NY…..

  25. alastair

    December 3, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Can't help but put me in mind of the classic phrase:
    "If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants"

  26. dale

    December 3, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    This is a stunning portrait of Mr. Cunningham. What a gentlemen, and a true artist!

    I'm sure he is fond of this photo.

  27. Iheartfashion

    December 3, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    He's amazing! His narrated "On the Street" feature is the best part of the NYTimes online.

  28. RAYMOND A.

    December 3, 2009 at 7:44 pm


  29. Meadow

    December 3, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Love. this. lighting

  30. Sara Lua

    December 3, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    I love Bill Cunningham! His photoessays and insight & laugh really perk up my days. His experience also gives his statements historical weight, and I love his old New York wisdom!!!

  31. Well Done

    December 3, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    yes, he is the master.

  32. Anonymous

    December 3, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Precious, darling man. I get off on his enthusiasm – and his accent. Long live Bill!

  33. Mary

    December 3, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    I agree with everyone here that Bill Cunningham is the best! He has this slightly irreverant attitude toward fashion that just makes it a joy to listen to his "On the Street" commentaries. Love him!

  34. Sukhpreet

    December 3, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Aw, I'm so happy to see Mr. Cunningham on here, and love how much respect you always seem to show for him. He is one of the greats, with an especially fantastic voice.

  35. klm

    December 3, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Love both of you!

  36. The Storialist

    December 3, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    What a beautiful photo. His expression is great.

  37. Charlotte K

    December 3, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    He is the Master.

    The only improvement after his years of sharing his love is the marvelously narrated slideshow now available online each week to supplement his Sunday "on the street" feature.

  38. Shoestring Traveler

    December 3, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    WOW! Great composition! I really like the depth of field in this shot, and how the background just melts away.

  39. Susan

    December 3, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    I love it! This photo is great!

  40. Kikiss

    December 3, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Nice portrait of Mr. Cunningham.
    Beautiful smile !

  41. Emom

    December 3, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    How charming to be sitting next to a master…smiles.

  42. sanmiguelense

    December 3, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    I have been looking at Bill Cunningham's photos in the NYT as long as I can remember. I love him and the fact that he gets around New York on a bike. He's the original! And you, Scott, have some mighty big mocassins to fill. He's done some serious time on the corner of 59th and Fifth…my favorite series was one he did of people avoiding or jumping over a puddle.

  43. Catherine

    December 3, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    He's a legend. I love how he sees patterns and connections in the crazy mish-mash that is New York City. There was a fantastic article about him in the New Yorker back in March:

    Catherine at Littlehouse of Style

  44. Chow

    December 3, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    I absolutely adore Bill Cunningham's 'marvelous' weekly New York Times slideshow. So nice to see him in front of the camera! Thanks for the lovely shot.

  45. Montreal Street Views

    December 3, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    Imagine what a world this could be if 10 percent of the people held that zest and love for life and put their heart into every day like Bill does!
    oh What a Wonderful World it Would be! :–)

  46. Nick Leonard

    December 3, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Damn, stellar portrait.

  47. natalia

    December 3, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    There's a twinkle in his eye that is so mysterious in this photo. It makes me wonder what great thing his mind is cultivating…

  48. Madam Knowitall

    December 3, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    The man has an amazing eye for picking the well dressed and what trends are appearing. I love his change of season shots.

  49. samantha ezra.

    December 3, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    bill cunningham is such an inspiration.

  50. Anonymous

    December 3, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    The student becomes the teacher !

  51. Anonymous

    December 3, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Does anyone know what kind of camera he is using in this shot? Hands down the most beautiful shot I have seen in quite a while.

  52. Lucy in the Sky

    December 4, 2009 at 12:06 am

    love his personality. as you said, he's so enthusiastic (though I've never met him!) and never jaded by the high-class world of fashion.

  53. Jacqueline

    December 4, 2009 at 12:07 am

    Great photo of him! I love your facial portraits the most I think.


  54. carolet

    December 4, 2009 at 12:47 am

    I love Bill Cunningham and this is a great picture!!

  55. Anonymous

    December 4, 2009 at 1:40 am

    I've only seen snaps of Mr. Cunningham in glossies, but there's always such an energy, even in a small image of this man.

    So amazing– but not surprising to learn from you that he remains always excited, fascinated and just happy about fashion. Wish there were more individuals like him in the industry.


  56. Soren Lorensen

    December 4, 2009 at 1:47 am


  57. Vinda Sonata

    December 4, 2009 at 2:06 am

    the feeling must be exciting. i bet he's as great as you are too :)


  58. Anonymous

    December 4, 2009 at 2:29 am

    blasé always has an accent aigu over the e.

  59. Frances

    December 4, 2009 at 2:58 am

    Thank you for this amazing portrait!

  60. Cassandra

    December 4, 2009 at 3:11 am

    What a glorious portrait!!!!

  61. Anonymous

    December 4, 2009 at 3:39 am

    this photo is epic

  62. Jack Daniel

    December 4, 2009 at 4:51 am

    Extremely well taken picture, Scott.

    The reason why you don't feel like him is because he shoots with a very cool camera…………..
    The camera is like a third leg, a third hand, a third arm, a third eye. It becomes a part of you and if you treat your body & mind with the images coming from the camera…it will make you feel more comfortable in life.

  63. E

    December 4, 2009 at 5:21 am

    Did you talk to him? If not, you should!

  64. Mai

    December 4, 2009 at 5:33 am

    Love this man. He is legendary.

  65. Gary MAEL

    December 4, 2009 at 5:52 am

    magnificent portrait

  66. Athene Greig

    December 4, 2009 at 6:48 am

    This is a beautiful, elegant photograph. He looks very genuine and kind.

  67. San

    December 4, 2009 at 6:48 am

    Don't sell yourself short. Your photography is simply amazing. Love your blog and pictures. You've got the necessary point of view.

    I love that he is still using an analog camera.

  68. Anonymous

    December 4, 2009 at 7:28 am

    I love Bill Cunningham. I can't wait to arrive at work on a Monday morning (in Houston) and pull up his slide show to see his 'theme' of the past week. And his commentary is so delightful to match the photos.

  69. gerard

    December 4, 2009 at 7:34 am

    When I used to work fashion week new york, I'd see him around and he always had such a cheerful glow to him after all these years. A great man indeed.

  70. Anonymous

    December 4, 2009 at 7:36 am

    Bill Cunningham is a genius!

  71. nb.original

    December 4, 2009 at 8:31 am

  72. Angeline

    December 4, 2009 at 8:34 am

    To me, Mr. Cunningham is the Master. I have been fortunate enough to have been photographed by him on the street and for the last 20 years, I've always been referred to as "child". Thank you, Bill!! ;-)

  73. Anonymous

    December 4, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Go Nikon! Love it.

  74. Julia 'So Thankful'

    December 4, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Great picture!

  75. The Concrete Commentator

    December 4, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Wow! Brilliant Scott..

  76. Any

    December 4, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Hestill rides his bycicle…
    I'm curious about his laundry list…
    Keep your elegance forever Mister Bill…

  77. Anna Z

    December 4, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Mr Cunningham is a national treasure.
    I have sought out his contributions to the NY Times for many years and always felt a little more sophisticated for his keen, sensitive, playful eye. You may well be his natural successor – a very high compliment! Keep up the good work and never take yourself too seriously!
    Anna Z.

  78. Catherine like Deneuve

    December 4, 2009 at 10:51 am

    The highlight of my Saturdays is calling up his On the Street slideshow and listening to him, as if he were speaking just to me personally, talk about what fabulous things he has spotted around the city. I miss NYC so much, and he takes me there for a few minutes every week.
    My only criticism of him is that it's too long to wait for Saturday! Thank goodness for you and Garance to provide photos more in line with my insatiable demand.

  79. Anonymous

    December 4, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Thank you so much for honoring Bill Cunningham! I have enjoyed his photographs every Sunday for as long as I can remember! He is a true delight!
    Your work and blog speak volumes to those of us that love a pure creative approach to fashion/style…….I read your blog everyday and can never get enough…..thank you…L

  80. lintmag

    December 4, 2009 at 11:03 am

    I was just saying to a friend that I wish there was a Bill Cunningham book of all his great photos (also Steven Meisel) – I always look for his page in the Times first on Sundays.

  81. HC

    December 4, 2009 at 11:25 am

    That's a lovely post…

  82. Anonymous

    December 4, 2009 at 12:04 pm


    I think that you do not need 35 more years to feel the light and beauty of who you are and your talent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  83. janis

    December 4, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Mr. Cunningham is an inspiration… :^)

  84. Mofoo

    December 4, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    What a beautiful record of a special crossing of paths. Bravo Scott and Bill! (And Mr. C uses film- holy smokes, that's vintage, no wonder you took his picture).

  85. Anonymous

    December 4, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Mr. Cunningham is the bomb! The sincerity with which he approaches style – on the street, the runway,daily wear, high-end, no-ends,…his sincerity and wonder make me look for his work, his contribution is invigorating.

  86. Lauren

    December 4, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Awesome comment. I have worked with some phenomenal people in the entertainment industry who are much older, and have observed it's such a privilege to have work you love to keep you going for a long, long time. And I hope I have that privilege. Xo

  87. Anonymous

    December 4, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Profound ! The mentored becomes the master !

  88. Nono V.

    December 4, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    amazing portrait. I wish I had one of myself!

  89. *raChel

    December 4, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    He's awesome

  90. Cobalt Violet

    December 4, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Beautiful warm light an the lights behind him… great photo.

  91. Danielle

    December 4, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    is he shooting film? that, alone, is the perfect accessory.

  92. Anonymous

    December 4, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    What I love about Bill Cunningham is that he's not so interested in youth or beautiful people – rather he celebrates and delights in fashion and style in a way that's whimsical and accessible to all. I love this quote from him in a March 2009 New Yorker profile: “I don’t really see people—I see clothes. People say everybody’s a slob. Ridiculous! There are marvellously”—it came out, in a wonderful archaic honk, as “maah-vah-lously”—“dressed women you see at a quarter to eight, going to business. When people say fashion is no more, they’re ridiculous! It’s as good as it ever was.”

  93. Le 21ème

    December 5, 2009 at 12:19 am

    I'm so glad you took this photo! It's such a great pic of him. Glad to see he's still shooting film!


  94. Anonymous

    December 5, 2009 at 10:59 am

    There is so much expressed in this photo.
    I love Bill Cunningham's advice "so go on out there and have fun with it." Rock on, Mr. Cunningham!

  95. desertwind

    December 5, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    You know what sets you and Bill above the rest, Sart?

    You like people.

  96. Anonymous

    December 6, 2009 at 7:11 am

    love your respect for the greats. you're well on your way. & great portrait.

  97. Anonymous

    December 6, 2009 at 9:26 am

    stars in the eyes…nice.

    Cheers from Paris!

  98. Anonymous

    December 6, 2009 at 11:00 am

    BC uses a Nikon FM2.

  99. Anonymous

    December 7, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    "BC uses a Nikon FM2."

    As do I. It's a wonderful camera, especially with a 50/1.2 attached. Add Tri-X or Fuji Pro160–you're set.

  100. Tiffanybreakfast

    December 7, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Sart, you are what everyone desires to see in a photo of themselves. Their best self shining through. You get the humanity and the human. Wishing you an equally enchanted 2010.

    Love Bill Cunningham's NYT pieces. He makes style come alive.

  101. bird of light

    December 8, 2009 at 12:11 am

    smiles *

  102. Lindsey

    December 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    wow, a fantastic, fresh portrait!

  103. j

    December 8, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    I met him about two weeks ago for a launching event. He is very very humble and down to earth. He is getting old though, but he is making a legacy of his own.

  104. Anonymous

    December 10, 2009 at 7:23 am

    Totally agree with the last sentense.

  105. TiboduK

    December 10, 2009 at 10:07 am

    gotta dig that nikon fm :D
    nonetheless, that was a great capture!

  106. Priscilla

    December 10, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    I love bill cunningham and wait every week to enjoy his "on the street" posts on the nytimes online! He sure loves what he does, and reflects that always!

  107. lucyinamerica

    December 10, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    I love Bill Cunningham! I got to meet him once, very briefly … such a thrill!

  108. ayu

    December 10, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    this is just…. beautiful. I think I'm gonna cry.

  109. Anonymous

    December 11, 2009 at 3:35 am

    he looks so concentrated…ready to take the next photo. this picture replaces so much of his passion for photography…lovely!

  110. Solo

    December 11, 2009 at 9:45 am

    hello :D i love your blog! how do you manage to keep your pictures so big in here? can you help me figure that out? :)

  111. Susie Bright

    December 15, 2009 at 12:17 am

    I love him so much. and this is such a beautiful portrait of him. very different from the bicycle photo we always see in the Times

  112. Valéry Lorenzo

    December 15, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    He has stolen my camera !

  113. xristopher

    December 18, 2009 at 11:26 am

    I am not a photographer, but a musician and designer. You have spoken for every real artist here. That feeling of the already/not yet that pervades one's work- the pursuit of a mystery that is evasive and seductive — beauty and truth.

    Keep it up man! You are an inspiration.


  114. kat parker

    December 18, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    beautiful portrait of a beautiful man

  115. empress of The Eye

    December 21, 2009 at 10:57 am

    A true road warrior!

  116. Anonymous

    December 25, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Glad to see somebody's still shooting film.

  117. Jessica Chen

    December 30, 2009 at 4:18 am

    This is a great photo of Mr. Bill Cunningham.

    Bravo to both this pic & your comments! Well done!

  118. Anonymous

    February 6, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Bill Cunningham is as refreshing as ever, and yes, he still believes in what he does!

  119. ckb

    February 22, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Love love love bill


  120. Josy

    February 22, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    always nice to read artists complimenting other artists. Your work is amazing as is Mr. Cunningham's. Thank you for this education! :)

  121. CrowNology

    March 20, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Love that it's a film camera.
    Ahhh Lovely Film!

  122. Up-Routed

    April 14, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Caught Bill the other day (find him on my blog here:

    He is a living legend and if you haven't seen his film yet, please do.

  123. Donnie Miller

    May 12, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I also had the honor of doing a portrait of Bill in NYC. I think the documentary on him has done a tremendous job at elevating public perception of street fashion photography. Find his portrait in the commercial portraits gallery at

  124. Greg

    October 26, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Historically, I have viewed an interest in fashion as little more than a shallow pursuit. The beautiful documentary about Bill and your blog have worked to convince me otherwise.

  125. Caterina

    January 23, 2013 at 3:31 am

    Me encanta este hombre!!

  126. Estelanipona

    October 6, 2017 at 8:27 am

    When you truly love something…. Fantastical.

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