A woman dressed in Victorian-era garb sits on a seat in a subway car covered with graffiti. A model decked out in Napolean-esque clothes poses in front of a church, a skyscraper just visible in the left corner.
These images are part of famous New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham's latest photo series, Facades, which will be exhibited at the New York Historical Society in March.
The 84-year-old Cunningham worked on the project between 1968 and 1976, where he paired models—in particular his muse Editta Sherman—in period costumes against historical settings mixed with modern-day architecture and day-to-day life.
Although by turns whimsical and bold, Cunningham’s project also was part of the larger cultural zeitgeist in New York City, during an era in which issues surrounding both the preservation and the problems of the urban landscape loomed large. The photographer donated 88 silver gelatin prints from the series to the New-York Historical Society in 1976, and now, almost four decades later, Cunningham’s work will be reconsidered in a show that will highlight the historical perspective the photographs suggest—not just of the distant past, but of the particular time in which they were created.
Take a look at the photos below: