Legendary lensman rides off and into the hereafter

Bill Cunningham on his trusty bike in Soho in 2011. Photo by Tequila Minsky

Bill Cunningham on his trusty bike in Soho in 2011. Photo by Tequila Minsky

Bill Cunningham, the always-on-the-go fashion photographer for The New York Times, died last Thursday after being hospitalized for a stroke. He was 87. A Boston native, he started out making women’s hats, but turned to fashion photography after headwear fell out of vogue. For years, he freelanced for the Times, relishing his independence, but finally became staff for health insurance after a bike accident. Until 2010, he lived in a small, spartan studio apartment above Carnegie Hall, without a kitchen or closet and just a small cot and shared bathroom. Cunningham was a familiar sight zipping around town on his bike, in his signature blue tunic, his camera slung around his neck. He had a knack for spotting the latest fashion trends on the streets, and his subjects ranged from ordinary people to socialites.

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