geo geller

October 15, 2015

Bill Cunningham Caught in Action – Back Story

Filed under: — GeoGeller @ 4:44 pm

Bill Cunningham Caught in Action – back story

Bill Cunningham Caught in Action – Back Story

New York Times – Fashion Photographer 10/11/2015

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i ran into “Bill Cunningham of fashion fotog of the NYTimes” at the last day Oct 11, 2015 of Comic Con 2015 and it was a shooting/hunting gallery for photographers – there was so much coming at you that if you blinked an eye your missed a whole amazing shot of a life time – and if you ran after it you would miss something else – anyway i took 2,840 fotos in 3 or 4 hours, which is not a record – bill came along after i had been there for an hour or forever it seems and – authors note: i have religiously watch his fashion photos slide shows for years on NY times web site and also in a previous life i too was in the rag business, i invented a textile process for softening denim that Burlington Industries and Cotton inc were my partners – but that is another story- anyway i didn’t recognize Bill, as actually i had never seen him in person with what looked like his signature blue shirt and so here was this old statesmen, out there and looking kinda fragile and so i went up to him not knowing it was the, “Bill Cunningham of NYTimes” and innocently wanted to acknowledge him as an elder and senior in age and said, “hello”, as i was one of the first ones there, and asked him his name to which he replied “Bill” and proceeded to ignore me and turned his attention to something else – i just assumed like myself and most street fotogs i know, we are somewhat eccentric and even anti-social often because – first, we don’t want to be distracted, and street fotography is very confrontational if you are good – you are in the moment focused to a point of oblivion and oblivious – you are also flooded with all sorts of obstacles courses on top of all that you have irate people coming at you from all sorts of directions with all sorts of hostile positions at any moment in time and you have your own agenda to get and frame the shot – so a good photog has to be street smart aside from that you have thousands of dollars of equipment hanging from your neck literally and figuratively that is both a weapon and noose at the same time – so i shrugged Bill’s indifference, as don’t bother me, i’m busy – and off he and i went about our business hunting for suspects in same vicinity – authors note: i have to say i often watch photographers to see what they are shooting and how they move and have been fotographing photographers for years and recently have a series i call “Posers” of fotographers in action and their subjects in the frame as well as the last few years i am focusing on people posing for fotos – anyway i digress – a few min later this young couple came up to him and recognized him and said they were big fans and then asked if they could take a photo with him? to which to my surprise, he said “no” and then they proceeded to take a stealthy selfie anyway- he later went up to that couple and said something that sounded like “selfies are self-fish” but afterwards it dawned on me that maybe he meant “selfies are self-fishing” anyway we continued hunting in the same stream of Comic Con pond for few more hours together until the fishing dwindled and he disappeared but i got a chance to watch Bill in action – and many times i found myself looking at what he was shooting often after i shot it since he was mostly out of harms way and out of the maddening crowd and hovered around places that were safer while i the young old, don’t know better, punk was in the middle going up stream in a fotographers dream but he got in the fray every once in a while and i floated around as is my nature which is to get in and get out and to try to not disturb the waters too much – i prefer people to not be aware of me so i don’t get a posed shot also as a street fotog you really have lots of choices of pain – the pain of not getting the shot vs the pain the shot may cause you or cause the other people too – sometimes better just to take the shot with your eyes and to me its not the end product photograph but the experience, the journey and photos is for other people the experience is for me – so posed fotos are never as interesting as a moment in time – anyway there were a few times our eyes connected and a few times i think he intentionally or unintentionally had me as the subject in his fotos – but i enjoyed our little quite moments together and watched him out of the corner of my eye – every once in a while i took photos of him and then forgot he was there – i loved seeing him run after a shot that got away – but he also shoots with a fashion goal in mind – i shoot energy, people, places, faces, presence and spaces but toward the end of the day i just went all out and decided we’re all hunters and as such are also each others subjects – also i realized Bill and most of my die hard street photog friends like myself are very concentrated and in the moment and don’t want to be distracted as a result these photos were the results “Bill Cunningham Caught in Action”

perchance one day Oct 11, 2015 i ran into “Bill Cunningham” at the last day of Comic Con 2015 and i went up to him as street fotographers sometimes do to talk about the fishing and say hello – well he was quick brushed me off and i thought ouch and then i realized he is like me when i am shooting – i am focused so i recognized that avoiding me wasn’t personal – it was who he was when he was shooting also we were in the middle of feast a shooting/hunting gallery for photographers – there was so much coming at you that if you blinked an eye you missed a whole amazing shot of a life time – and if you ran after it you would miss something else – anyway i took 2,840 fotos in 3 or 4 hours, these photos were the results “Bill Cunningham Caught in Action more Bill Cunningham at ComicCon 2015 back story

i looked forward to Bill’s street fashion videos with a boyish excitement – not only as a street photographer myself but also i grew up literally in the lap of the schmatta, rag business sitting on my mothers lap at her old style singer sewing sewing machine, she use to make wedding gowns and samples for Oscar De La Renta, Ralph Lauren and others that i am sure Bill photographed too and then in the mid to late 1980’s i inventing a process for softening denim, stone-washing like process – but that is another story

“When I’m photographing,” Mr. Cunningham once said, “I look for the personal style with which something is worn — sometimes even how an umbrella is carried or how a coat is held closed. At parties, it’s important to be almost invisible, to catch people when they’re oblivious to the camera — to get the intensity of their speech, the gestures of their hands. I’m interested in capturing a moment with animation and spirit.”

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