Tonight Amanda and I watched “Bill Cunningham New York” (IMDBNetflix link) a documentary profiling an iconic New York fashion photographer. The movie came out in 2010 when Mr. Cunningham was 81 years old and he’s now 86 and still going.

If you like movies with New York as a backdrop this movie is a treat. The movie follows Bill through his daily work of walking and biking the streets of Manhattan seeking out original and interestingly dressed people (mostly women) for his Sunday fashion column in the New York Times.

Bill is as full of energy as anyone half his age. I loved watching him live an active life by biking his way around the city.

View on independence, money, and being owned

I connected with several of the things that Bill said during his interviews. Bill explained how his view of money was formed by an event involving a $1,000 loan from some rich individuals. When he was drafted the people who made the load told him he couldn’t go to the military because their investment would be on hold. His family paid back the loan and he went to serve his country. When he got out of the military he paid his family back.

Since then he was very stand-offish about taking people’s money. “You see if you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do, kid” said Bill. I respect that statement. Not wanting to be beholden to anyone for money is why we live a debt free lifestyle and I work for myself.

Minimalist lifestyle

You can tell that Bill’s single purpose in life is his work chronicling the fashion being worn on the streets of New York City. There is nothing else. All of the unnecessary has been removed.

Bill lived in an artist’s studio above Carnegie Hall for many decades until recently being relocated due to a real estate dispute. When talking about the dispute and the possibility of being moved he says, “They will probably move me to an apartment with a kitchen and a bathroom. Who wants a kitchen and a bathroom? Who has time for that nonsense?”

Bill’s statement doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy food or hygiene, but rather that he’s not interested in anything past the bare necessities (he eats all meals out and needs a basic bathroom).

I connected with Bill’s minimalist lifestyle because Amanda and I have removed things in our life that we feel are not necessary.

If you like New York, enjoy watching a craftsman at work, or like fashion, add this movie to your watch list.

Get a weekly digest of posts

* indicates required