In honor of the documentary, The Times of Bill Cunningham, we’ve launched an apparel line featuring illustrations by famed fashion illustrator Ruben Toledo.
Bill Cunningham was an iconic 20th century photographer for The New York Times whose work captured and defined street style before it was a ubiquitous part of fashion. We sat down with documentary filmmaker Mark Bozek to learn a bit more about his approach to this film and how he thinks Bill would view the current cultural moment.
What prompted you to create this documentary?
I was prompted to create this documentary when, on the Bill Cunningham died, June of 2016, I went into my basement to search out an interview I did with him 25 years ago and hadn’t watched since then. The minute I watched it I knew I had to make it into a feature documentary.
With the rise of the internet and Instagram, street style is more important to fashion than ever. How do you think Bill’s work added to this phenomenon?
Bill Cunningham was creator of the art of street-style long before digital was a thing. It is certainly an evolving and far more instant phenomenon however one still has to have a perspective and an eye that tell a “story”. There’s no one that comes close to his “eye”. There will one-day but today I don’t see it.
Cunningham’s photography was all about capturing people as honestly as possible—did you take this approach when creating your film?
Oh yes – most certainly. I knew that making a new film about Bill, particularly since he had died, that without such honesty and allowing him to tell his own story that it would fail without it.
Everything I read about fashion says that it’s changing drastically—runways are becoming less relevant and style is more personal than ever. What do you think Bill would have thought of this?
He forecasted this happening 5 years ago in an interview with Fern Mallis at The 92nd st Y. He knew how technology was taking over everything. But in that – he also knew that the streets are reflective of far more than just fashions – but politically and socio-economically.
What are you personally taking away form the process of making this documentary? What did you learn that you’d love for others to know?
As a first-time filmmaker it has been the most rewarding experience of my life. After being a CEO for many years – I was able delve into my long hidden passions for filming and was blessed that I chose the legendary Bill Cunningham has my first—or maybe he chose me! 🙂