On this, the day of the UK launch for the brilliant documentary on Bill Cunningham: Bill Cunningham New York - I thought I'd go back to my blog's infancy. On three years ago today, just around the Ides of March (another great film, btw), I posted this shot ('it's a bird'). I remember she didn't speak English - possibly French, she was very shy - so I didn't eve catch her name. And then this pigeon flew into the shot! That's when I was shooting in film, and only took one or two shots: I loved the serendipity of the moment. The accidents that happen.

I'm interested in seeing what holds up, over time. That's the distinction, for me, between following a trend and simply having a good sense of style. And I know that, like Bill, I am not an arbitrator of style (??), nor am I an industry insider, thank God! I'm just reporting the facts, ma'am, so please don't shoot the messenger.

There is so much in the film that I love, but especially, the idea that Bill knows he can't go out to chase a trend: the street talks to him, the trends reveal themselves. That's exactly my experience. It's a question of keeping one's eyes open, stilling one's mind, and carrying a camera. It's that simple. No, I take that back: it's simple, but it's also all consuming, and even doing it for a few years.. to spend a lifetime doing this, with the energy he does, is awe inspiring.

Those of you who know me know that Bill is the reason I started my blog. So I will be doing an homage to him over the next few weeks. I realise this is only a big deal in the UK: apparently America saw the film - was it a year ago? More? - and I don't know about other countries. But if you want to see cinema listings, go to: BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK. Very moving film: I'm tearing up just thinking about it.


Lauren@Styleseer said...

Hi Jill,

Yes, we in the U.S. saw the film about a year ago, but I'm still moved just thinking about it. I loved his description of how the streets talk to him and reveal trends. Looking forward to your homage!

Alexandra said...

Jill: thank you for your lovely email reply, I'm so glad I've finally found a way of commenting on your blog again! I actually used those photos I told you I had shot last weekend in a post yesterday - my own interpretation of what Dorothy would wear to Glastonbury(!) This film sounds right up my street considering my new found photographic inspiration and having seen the David Bailey film with Dominic Cooper and Karen Gillan recently on the BBC.

As to this shot - I love seeing your very first shots from when you first started the blog, especially as you shot them on film on a pentax. This bird is such a fleeting blur in the picture but it really helps capture the moment in time perfectly.

Will get researching those listings for the Bill Cunningham film to see where it's showing near me! Hope you have a lovely, inspiring weekend + happy St Patrick's Day for tomorrow! (I tend to celebrate it more than St George's Day!) Alexandra xxx

O D Y S S E Y said...

i will have to add this film to my growing list of ones to see. i'm not familiar with bill cunningham but i feel i should be...
how cool that a pigeon flew by as you took the shot! i like this woman's style. and could her hair be any more gorgeous?!

styleeast said...

I can't wait to see the film! There was a piece on it last week in the Culture Show (bbc2) in which David Nyanzi was featured too. I did not know you had a 'pigeon shot' in the archives, I would've posted it alongside my one of Roz in which a pigeon flew into frame in almost the exact same spot! x

San said...

Good morning Jill. Lucky you for living in the UK and being abled to watch the movie. I'd love to watch it too. Hopefully it will open here soon.

I love this picture, the bird is a funny coincidence which make the picture even better.

Have a great new week.

Julie Kissane said...


I just watched the Bill Cunningham documentary yesterday! How funny! I was entertained and thought of you the whole time! So funny that you posted this blog, miss you!

Fashionistable said...

He is very sweet. When I was telling him that the documentary was due to be shown in the UK he said people are telling him all the time it is just reaching their country. He mentioned some Australians and just mentioned the same to him recently. Oh and he calls us all child - his perspective made me young again. Xxxx