For many years, every Sunday I looked forward to looking at Bill Cunningham's column in The New York Times. In fact, I skipped the front page, the sports page and headed straight to SundayStyles and Bill's photos.
Bill Cunningham was a fashion and society photographer for the New York Times. He was working up until his death two weeks ago at the age of 87. He had two regular spots in the Style section: one a photo montage of what the average person on the street was wearing and another showing the various attendees, famous or not, to galas and events around the city.
His photos are great but what always captivated me was the man: so humble, honest, focused, gracious, hard working and passionate about what he did. He was a purist for art and beauty. He was never concerned about celebrity or photos for money. He just loved fashion and loved recording it. (If you get a chance, watch the 2011 documentary on him, Bill Cunningham New York)
In an interview last fall, when asked about his current age (and the implication of why he is still working), he said he didn't think about age because that was not the important thing, "the important thing is I am enjoying what I do." Click here to see an interview
He lived a extremely simple lifestyle, spartan in fact, in order to be true to his art form and to his passion. Certainly an eccentric but a lovable one.
I am not called to live a life like his but I am encouraged about his single-mindedness and his passion. Makes me wonder about my own life, my calling and how do I reflect my values? Am I gracious and humble in what I do? Do I treat all people the same- rich or poor, famous or not? Of course I do not rub shoulders with anyone at all in the circles that he saw but I certainly can show favoritism and divisiveness with whom I come in contact and I shouldn't. Do I look at life as an ever changing beautiful place?
What about you? Do you have a passionate life? Do you know anyone who does? What does it look like?