An employee of the Times for nearly 40 years (and former milliner), Cunningham was best known for his column "On the Street," in which he documented rapidly changing fashion trends by photographing the outfits of New Yorkers from all walks of life. A fixture at fashion shows, galas and other industry events, Cunningham became a celebrity in his own right, easily recognizable in a crowd thanks to his signature blue French worker's jacket, khaki pants and, of course, bicycle. He chronicled the changing trends and players with a more casual approach than previous photographers, making fashion more accessible and democratic along the way. Considered by many to be the original street style photographer, Cunningham paved the way for a lucrative industry that has become a cornerstone of the broader fashion landscape.
Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., the Times' publisher and chairman, said in a statement:
“His company was sought after by the fashion world’s rich and powerful, yet he remained one of the kindest, most gentle and humble people I have ever met. We have lost a legend, and I am personally heartbroken to have lost a friend."
We'll miss him.