“The best fashion show is on the street - always has been, always will be” Bill CunninghamPosted June 01 2012
The first Sartorialists were snapping straight ups on the streets a lot earlier than we might at first imagine. Pioneer Bill Cunningham was capturing fashion in New York long before documentary was even considered a style of photography.
At the beginning of the 1980s, early issues of ID featured page after page of inspiration taken from the street entitled ´Straight Up´. In the third issue, a collective of six photographers including Thomas Degan and Simon Brown shot enough images to fit on five double page spreads. A record of an eclectic mix of styles considered shocking and revolutionary at the time.
Nowadays we are so familiarised with street style that we may take the concept for granted. We must, however, remember those who laid the groundwork for a pure vision of style to become an acceptable and revolutionary approach in fashion photography.
Here are some early issues of ID Magazine straight ups we found in the archive
During the 1980s, Bill Cunningham regularly contributed to Details, a fashion magazine edited by Annie Flanders. We found this article from April 1986 proving that Cunningham´s skills not only reside in his widely publicised street style photography, but he was also a respected commentator and experimented with other types of photography.
In the article posted below, Cunningham critically analyses the work of museum costume departments and the misleading way in which some exhibitions are curated. He definitely knows his stuff!