Design: Remembering Bill Cunningham, Legendary Fashion Photographer

The influential lensman passed away on Saturday, June 25, at 86 years old.

byThe Drive Staff| UPDATED Jun 24, 2019 1:31 PM

Bill Cunningham, who passed away on Saturday, June 25 at 86 years old, was a fashion photography legend. His "On The Street" column for The New York Times, which basically invented the now-ubiquitous street-style genre of photography, ran for 38 years, and Cunningham was the recipient of the French Ministry of Culture's Order of Arts and Letters and in 2009 named a living landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

The Boston-born Cunningham, a Harvard drop-out and Korean War veteran, had a successful millinery company, outfitting the likes of Marilyn Monroe, before transitioning to fashion journalism and photography. Notably austere (and cheerful), Cunningham—who even after success lived for years in a small New York City apartment without a kitchen or private bathroom—was known for his ubiquitous blue work coat, and was frequently seen bicycling around the city. He once famously said, "You see, if you don't take money, they can't tell you what to do, kid."

A petition is seeking to change the corner of 57th Street and 7th Avenue, in Manhattan—Cunningham's favorite haunt for street shots—to "Bill Cunningham corner. You can sign the petition here. Or discover more about this photography legend with the 2010 documentary "Bill Cunningham New York."