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Tuesday 16 August |
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A Catholic lens: The vocation of one of New York City’s most famous photographers

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Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 07/12/16

A poignant glimpse at The New York Times’ legendary Bill Cunningham, who died just last month:

Father Kevin Madigan, pastor of Manhattan’s Church of St. Thomas More, said: “When deciding which galas to cover for the Times, what mattered more to Bill was the nature of the charity, than the celebrity guest list. Bill would always be respectful and appreciative of the person whose picture he was taking, whether it was some street kid or a society grand-dame.” …Since his death June 25 at 87, there has been a constant stream of admirers who remembered how hard he worked and what he accomplished. More importantly, they remembered him for his kindness, modesty and integrity. But while most people remembered him taking photos at 57th and Fifth Avenue, few commented on where he was every Sunday morning — at Mass. Cunningham didn’t talk about it, either. In a 2010 documentary, he responds with a cheerful laugh, a joke or a story to every question, except one. When asked about his weekly Mass attendance, he falls quiet and looks at the floor for a long time before answering. Finally he recalls with a smile that as a child his main interest in church was looking at the hats women wore. Then, after another long pause, all he really says is that his religion is important to him. But although he wasn’t articulate about his faith, he lived it. “Those closest to him would attest that he was a spiritual person,” said Father Madigan told the Catholic Star Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Camden. …”A vocation is seen as a kind of call from God, pairing a person’s interests, talents and passion in some noble pursuit, with the promise that following that path will be of service to others and bring to the one who answers that call genuine fulfillment and happiness,” the priest said. “It was the mission of Bill Cunningham to capture and celebrate beauty wherever he found it. His whole life was dedicated to that single pursuit. “Like any true artist,” the priest said, Cunningham “helped people see in a new way, see what might otherwise have gone unnoticed in the hurried pace of city life. And the delight, the pleasure, the joy Bill found in pursuing his vocation was undeniable.”

Read more.

Photo: CNS/Carlo Allegri, Reuters

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