I finally watched the Bill Cunningham documentary & I have some thoughts on it.
Bill is an inspired, disciplined, yet self-abnegating soul who has selflessly committed his life & talent to documenting the most selfish industry in the world, fashion. He is the last of a dying breed in NY social culture; as a relic and loyal tag-a-long, he’s one of the very few people I can think of who are fascinated by glamour and yet want none of it for themselves. This is respectable on one level, but ultimately odd. What does he get out of it, out of photographing very vain people? Is it a vicarious thrill/substitute for real connection/love/sex? Tellingly, he’s never had a relationship & is devoutly religious; an obsessive being with no inner life. It’s not like he’s donating his abilities or time to a noble cause; he seems saintly only in comparison to the self-serving lifestyle of those he doggedly photographs, but he is ultimately a chronic fanboy. Bottom line: Bill is an interesting NYC character but perhaps doesn’t deserve quite the priestly reverence he’s been alloted by the industry in recent years. I suspect it makes his subjects feel better about what THEY do more than it has to do with honoring his life or hard work. But, of course, the documentary is expressly created for those already deeply entrenched in the image industry; it is preaching to its own choir. :)