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There is no need to introduce Bill Cunningham. This Harvard dropout first began as a fashion journalist in New York, before establishing himself as one of the most famous photographers of the 20th century. One of his most ambitious projects, “Facades,” took him almost 10 years to turn into a book and the Southampton Arts Center has just turned his extensive project into an exhibition.
Cunningham found his unique way to tell the story of a city that so many artists try to write, paint, or sing about. Through the various portraits of his muse and friend, Editta Sherman, the “Facades” of New York City carry a fascinating double meaning. On the one hand, his black and white shots literally show the facades of a bright and shiny Manhattan. Highlighting architectural masterpieces such as the Grand Central Terminal, the Bowery Savings Bank, and the Central Park Bridge. On the other, Cunningham depicts the facades of the people in Manhattan, as well. The wonderful diversity of Editta’s outfits and hairstyles reminds the viewer of the changing aspects of New Yorkers throughout the centuries.
Following Editta’s footsteps through the city, Cunningham’s pictures created a bridge between time and space, and viewers have until July 12 to cross it.