Something to look back on: work view

A while ago, during my first week at university (also known as induction week) we got the chance to see some of the final projects of students from previous years. I thought it was a brilliant way to give us a taste of what we will be working on over the next months (and years), and I remember feeling excited as I looked for booklets and portfolios that caught my eye and being in awe as I flipped through the pages. I gotta say, some of those works looked so professional, I wasn’t sure whether to feel thrilled that I’d be doing such amazing work or inadequate that I would never be able to achieve such great results!

I took a few snaps of some of my favourites and meticulously saved them in a folder on my laptop, for future references.

Now that I’m nearing the end of my first semester, I feel like I understand some of those photos better and I can take away more from them than I could before. After sitting through lectures, taking plenty of notes and restlessly looking things up in my spare time, I feel like I now know what to look for a bit better than my 9-weeks-ago self, I am ever-so-slightly more savvy on the subject and I can therefore appreciate these works more and, hopefully, find a way to use what I loved about them in my future work.

Writing things down always help me, so I thought, why not write a blog about it? I am confident that I will come back to these notes in the future (and by then I will probably be even more “savvy” and will be embarrassed by my own naiveness. But that’s kind of the point of internet, isn’t it?).

Click to enlarge the images!

bill cunningham: a chronicle of NY fashion trends

To ease into induction week and to get into the visually-oriented mindset that we will need during our course, we started off with a screening of the movie/documentary ‘Bill Cunningham New York’ by Richard Press. The movie was a fresh and insightful view into the life of 80+ New York-based legendary photographer Bill Cunningham, a man who almost entirely dedicated his whole life to his work and passion: street style. As I watched him go about his daily routine, carefully inspect the hems of the skirts of the women passing by on the pavement, and sometimes even chase an eye-catching outfit through heavily-trafficked streets, I couldn’t help but feel utter admiration towards this man. His dedication to clothes and his talent in spotting trends as they are born among the widely-varied New Yorker crowds were beyond inspiring, especially when topped by his humility and sense of humour.

“We all get dressed for Bill.”

– Anna Wintour

His philosophy? “If you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do”. And he most certainly lives by it. For the sake of preserving his artistic freedom, Cunningham has rejected most of the material goods that the majority of people in our society would consider mandatory: a private bathroom, a kitchen and a closet full of clothes. His tiny flat being essentially a storage for his negatives and photographs, he spends his days by cycling through the streets of New York to spot new and recurring trends, selecting which photos to keep (very few are actually published) and putting them together to write an article on whatever trend has caught his eye. His work is his life and his life is his work.

It was also interesting to hear his opinions circa the fashion industry as a whole and the glamour and glitter that this environment is drenched in. He is clearly fascinated by it, but at the same time he prefers to keep his distance from it. Cunningham successfully made a name of himself in the fashion world even though his persona doesn’t exactly match the dazzling, gleaming socialite image: an aged man, very reserved, living the humble life, who has been wearing the same cheap blue coat for several decades, and who simply doesn’t participate in the glittering fashion events and parties that he attends as a mere photographer, never a guest. As if he were staring through a looking glass, he observes but doesn’t touch, documents but doesn’t get involved. He wants to be invisible; which is what differentiates him from the aggressive paparazzi.

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👋 Bill! #hyperlapse #nyfw

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I have definitely enjoyed watching this movie and found it to be quite the perfect start to this course. As a movie junkie myself I can hardly hide my excitement for the Film Club sessions we are going to be having on each Monday afternoon, and I look forward to finding inspiration as to how to integrate my love for movies and TV into my own visual communication concept.


links:
“Bill on Bill” – NYTimes.com
“Why Bill Cunningham is actually the most interesting person at Fashion Week” – Huffington Post

“Bill Cunningham New York” (2010) – IMDb

photo credits:
the sartorialist