When I moved to New York, I wanted a chance to spot Bill Cunningham. Then one morning, walking down Fifth Ave a few years ago, that chance came. He was in his usual blue worker's coat, smiling, off his bicycle and making his natural observations with his camera on the sidewalk. He appeared effortlessly unaffected by narcissism. He's the kind of person who had a documentary made about him but apparently never bothered to see it before his recent death. What he did see was nuance in pattern, rhythm, detail, color, cut, line, historic reference and distinction in fashion and in the people who became the subjects of his photographs.
Of course, I was mortified by the unremarkable outfit I was wearing when I saw him. What a missed opportunity. I knew I could have dressed better for him. Not that it mattered. I could see him; he didn't really even see me. I was sure to keep my distance in slow motion and just enjoy watching him.
I will miss knowing that he's no longer out there, using his keen eye to observe our world, our streets and ourselves. He was truly independent.