Bashful New York Times Photographer Gets Filmed for Documentary, Profiled on Times‘ ‘Lens’ Blog

bill-cunningham03232010.jpgThe New York Times‘ Lens Blog is running a heartwarming profile of Bill Cunningham, the Times‘ 81-year-old “On the Street” photographer.

The hook for the profile is a new documentary on the unassuming Cunningham titled Bill Cunningham New York, which is set to premiere at MoMA tomorrow. The documentary is a decade in the making, and according to the profile, “The first eight were spent trying to get Mr. Cunningham to cooperate.” Humble, hardworking Cunningham, whose lifestyle the Times describes as “ascetic,” didn’t believe that he was worthy of director Richard Press’ attention.


The documentary attempts to mirror Cunningham’s photographic style — discreet, nearly clandestine:

“It was always a dance getting his cooperation, even during filming,” Mr. Press said. “We tried to approach it as he would approach it. We tried to be as discreet and invisible as possible, because we knew we could never interrupt his work.”

The Lens post has some great photos of Cunningham, including one in which the gray-haired man, dressed in a black poncho and beret, hunches over for a candid shot of some New York ladies’ stilettos.

You can read more about Cunningham here.

Photo by Steve Eichner.