'I go out every day. When I get depressed at the office, I go out, and as soon as I’m on the street and see people, I feel better. But I never go out with a preconceived idea. I let the street speak to me.' - Bill Cunningham
Last night, after a particularly great evening which included big dinner on the rooftop with our neighbors and a very exhausting and sad football match, I dragged myself to bed and checked Instagram. And there it was, one of the very first photos I saw - in loving memory of the amazing Bill Cunningham; a pioneer streetstyle photographer, an incredibly kind soul, insanely humble and above all so incredibly passionate and positive man. His energy was so contagious and admirable and the amount of authenticity he had brought to the world of fashion was almost unbelievable.
I can even begin to describe how much I admired him.
In a way it wasn't that much about the photographs itself but about the character of the person behind them. There was so much joy in him, so much happiness, so much love for what he did. And always that childish smile on his face. Dear Mr Cunningham, I seriously wish I could've met you or at least be able to see you wandering around the streets of New York, looking for interesting individuals and discreetly taking their pictures. You were and always will remain such an inspiration.
I spent a great deal of today thinking about him and his attitude towards things he enjoyed the most. And there was one question that stuck with me all that time - what are you most passionate about? What makes you get up in the morning and try, try, try no matter what? What makes your heart beat faster and what keeps you smiling through the day, the month, the year?
'MOST of my pictures are never published. I just document things I think are important. For instance, I’ve documented the gay pride parade from its first days. It was something we had never seen before. I documented every exhibition that Diana Vreeland did at the Met, but every picture is of her hand on something. I do everything, really, for myself.'
I didn't have to search every little corner of my life to find the answers. I knew them in my heart the very first second my mind formed a question. At this time I choose not to share them because in a way it scares the hell out of me. Because it kinda distances me from the things I have always believed would be my life. My career. My happy place.
But you can't run away from your biggest passion forever, can you?
It always manages to find a way to speak to you, to challenge you, to make you not give up even though at times things seem hopeless. So I keep on writing. Typing. Sketching drafts of stories and posts in my little Moleskine notebook. And I keep on taking pictures. Every day, mostly without some big plans. I'm not the best one out there but I don't actually bother comparing myself to others. It can only do you harm.
I have always done things for myself.
And they made me feel happy. And proud, above all.
Reading the sad news about Bill passing away shook me to the very core of my being. And then I read one of his old interviews in which he says that very same thing I always repeated to myself - 'I do everything, really, for myself.' and started thinking about life, choices and passions which in the end led to this post.
Bill Cunningham died aged 87.
He's had a wonderful and accomplished life.
But dear friends, time flies by so incredibly fast. Yesterday we started highschool, today we're entering our 30s, tomorrow we might be in our 80s if we're lucky enough. Time is precious and we shouldn't waste it, especially not by doing things that don't make our hearts beat faster.
So today I encourage you to think.
Think about what triggers you.
Who do you want to be.
What do you love the most.
What are the things you think about before going to sleep and after waking up in the morning.
And then slowly, step by step, start turning them into a reality.
Fall in love with your life, truly, madly, deeply.
Because we're given such a short and unpredictable amount of time on this world, it would be so sad to waste them it on anything other than love.
Love for your life, your career and the people around you.
Rest in piece, Bill, I hope your camera is up there with you.