A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 09, 2014
“If you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do”

American photographer Bill Cunningham, best known for his work in the New York (NY) Times, was hired in 1982 by Details, an American men’s monthly fashion magazine. He didn’t like what he was being assigned to do, so he refused is paychecks and took the shots he wanted to take. “If you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do,” he reportedly said at the time.

The quote was completely unknown until he said it in the documentary, Bill Cunningham New York (2010).


Wikipedia: Bill Cunningham (American photographer)
William J. Cunningham (born March 13, 1929) is a fashion photographer for The New York Times, known for his candid and street photography.

The Internet Movie Daabase
Bill Cunningham New York (2010)
84 min - Documentary | Biography - 16 March 2011 (USA)

The Australian
Street style
GEORGINA SAFE, FASHION EDITOR JUNE 09, 2010 12:00AM
AN elderly man, rail thin with silvery hair, is leaving his cramped studio apartment in the Carnegie Hall Tower in New York. He closes the door and opens another to the adjacent broom closet, from which he takes a bicycle. He swings his leg over it and hoiks the strap of a battered Nikon camera across his chest before riding out on to Seventh Avenue.

It’s the opening scene from Bill Cunningham New York, a documentary by filmmaker Richard Press about the city’s longest serving street fashion photographer.
(...)
Cunningham famously fell out with Women’s Wear Daily when the trade publication changed positive copy accompanying a photo essay into negative comments about the women wearing the clothes - “that was the end of his career at Women’s Wear Daily”, says Annette de la Renta in the film - and when he worked at Details in the 80s he refused to take his pay cheques for fear they would put him in debt to the magazine.

“If you don’t take money they can’t tell you what to do, kid,” he tells Press.

“That’s the key to all things.”

Twitter
Zeke Turner
‏@ZekeFT
bill cunningham new york trailer http://bit.ly/glCI8V “if you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do!” #halloffame
1:31 PM - 21 Jan 2011

Telegraph (UK)
Meet Bill Cunningham, the original street style photographer
Decades before The Sartorialist and Tommy Ton, Bill Cunningham was photographing street fashions. Now an incredible new documentary ‘Bill Cunningham New York’ tells his life story.

BY MELISSA WHITWORTH | 02 FEBRUARY 2011
‘Bill Cunningham New York’, a documentary about the legendary New York Times street fashion photographer, is creating as much buzz and acclaim in fashion circles as 2009’s ‘The September Issue’, which revealed the machinations at American Vogue. It’s also being compared to the ‘Valentino: The Last Emperor’ which detailed the life of couturier, Valentino Garavani.
(...)
Of his reluctance to accept even a glass of water at any of the events he covers, he tells the cameras: “You see, if you don’t take money they can’t tell you what to do, that’s the key to the whole thing.”

New York (NY) Times
OP-ED COLUMNIST
Hunting Birds of Paradise
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: April 5, 2011
(...)
The legendary Times fashion photographer and Gotham sprite Bill Cunningham was wandering through the crowd, snapping pictures. We’d never met, but he paused briefly, looked approvingly at my lace sheath and took a picture.
(...)
Talking about the time he refused to take money for his work at Details after Si Newhouse bought the magazine, Cunningham says: “You see, if you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do, kid. ... Money’s the cheapest thing. Liberty, freedom is the most expensive.”

Google Books
Steal Like an Artist:
10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

By Austin Kleon
New York, NY: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
2012
Pg. 123:
Freedom from financial stress also means freedom in your art. As photographer Bill Cunningham says, “If you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do.”

Twitter
Mumbai Boss
‏@MumbaiBoss
“If you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do” - Bill Cunningham. A gem of a doc. on a gem of a human being:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkQklk_cfVs
1:31 AM - 3 Oct 2012

SheSpeaksMovies
BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK (2010)
September 27, 2013 · by Naomi
(...)
What we can see is a man with an ideal, mostly forgotten, almost non-existent dignity about his work. When he was working in the original Details magazine back in 1982, he never cashed his checks. “You see, if you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do, kid. Don’t touch money. It’s the worst thing you can do.” He says. The magazine was later bought by Condé Nast and then Newhouse, and still, he never touched the money. When he is assigned to photograph the celebrities and socialites at some events for the Times’ regular Evening Hours column, never mind the food, he doesn’t even drink a glass of water. He eats beforehand, and when he’s at the event, he does his work—report for the Times. “That’s the important thing—never to be owned. Money’s the cheapest thing. Liberty and freedom is the most expensive.”

BloggingGazelle
April 23. 2014
“If you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do” – Bill Cunningham
By blogginggazelle
This quote came from a book about bootstrapping.  The advice is to bootstrap as long as you can for two reasons.  First, the closer you get to selling your product, the more value you create in your startup and the less equity it will cost you should you decide to take on venture capital.  Second, when you take on investors, you take on partners who have a say in how the business is run.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Saturday, August 09, 2014 • Permalink