bill cunningham
Photo: Getty

Bill Cunningham, the iconic fashion photographer for the New York Times, has died at the age of 87 years old. Earlier this week, he had been hospitalised after suffering a stroke, but passed away today in New York, the Times confirmed.

For nearly 40 years, Cunningham was the fashion photographer for The Times, capturing the style of real women on the streets of New York; subsequently paving the way for the street style scene today. His weekly style column, On The Street, which appeared in every Sunday edition of The Times since he first launched it in 1978, transformed pavements into runways as he captured the unique style of New York women in a way that nobody had ever done before.

In 2010, Cunningham was the subject of a documentary, Bill Cunningham New York, which offered a private look at his low-key, oft mysterious life behind the lens. The film, which debuted to rave reviews, showed just how incredibly humble the photographer was, despite an iconic career in the industry that included a Legion d’Honneur in France and being named a Living Landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

But it wasn’t just the inspiring style Cunningham was able to capture in the most unexpected of places that made him so legendary; it was the smile of pure joy on his face as he captured the perfect fashion shot. It was the magic of seeing him ride by on his bicycle wearing his signature blue French workers jacket and khaki pants. It was the lasting impact he managed to leave on anyone who ever had the opportunity to witness him at work. Today, the fashion industry mourns the loss of a true legend, one who personified the magic of New York City style and managed to touch a million hearts along the way.

bill cunningham
Cunningham snaps Carolyn Murphy in Bazaar’s February 2002 issue. Photo: Patrick Demarchelier

From: Harper’s BAZAAR US