In Memoriam

It’s been a year since a very good friend of mine decided he’d had enough, and that year has been a long, weird time. It’s strange – he left us on February 29th, so I wasn’t sure which day was really the anniversary of his loss. In the end it didn’t matter, since the entire week has felt like a fresh bruise. He’s woven into everything; he doesn’t need a specific date. But it’s fitting, I think, that the anniversary of his loss is the rarest date there is, since he was the rarest kind of person.

In an effort to showcase David’s talent and to hopefully ease some of this blue haze, I’ve decided to use this week’s main post to rank my favorite ten works of art by him and give a reason why they mean so much to me.

I also wanted to take a moment to point out that what you’ll see in these photographs is talent; raw, bleeding talent. David never struck me as someone who was so troubled that he might quit altogether; he was an effervescent, gorgeous human being, with a heart so big it had room for everyone and countless plans for what was sure to be a bright future. His death was unexpected to those who were privileged to know and love him, and it’s left a crack in the foundations of many lives.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from suicidal thoughts, even if only in the abstract, please reach out. The National Suicide Hotline (1-800-273-8255) is a 24/7 service that costs nothing but could save a life – and trust me, no matter who you are, your life matters.

Now let’s delve right in.

#10

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Because it taught me that even just a flat image on a computer screen can make you want to puke. Thanks, David, for the unsettled guts!

#9

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Because he made Whitney look like the Mad Hatter’s more subdued but arguably more insane paramour, and I really love her eye makeup and cool nest-hat.

#8

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Because everything about this photograph is soft and feminine and ethereal and angelic… Which, actually, isn’t too far from how Christina is in real life, so maybe I shouldn’t give David so much credit??

#7

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Because this makes me feel like life sometimes can be like a fairy tale, which is secretly all I ever really want out of it.

#6

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Because I don’t understand high fashion but David did and he assured me that this was ‘so McQueen.’ He did not like it when I asked if he meant Lightning. I miss him a lot.

#5

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Because I remember him showing me the trick to getting Rocky Horror lips – pulling the tip of your nose upward with the tip of your finger. “It accentuates the sex hole” was, I believe, the direct quote. #genius

#4

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Because Chase, as gorgeous as he is, is not a rough and tough looking guy. Trust. I have seen him up close. He is a precious fragile baby. But in this picture, he looks like James Dean joined the mafia.

#3

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Because this picture reminds me of a time when I trusted people implicitly, and the start of the homoerotic undertones that would come to color my life. Also, the hats. What were those hats. David made them work.

#2

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Because I remember how excited he was to be working with Blythe. Every shoot, he would show me the results, and tell me how beautiful and receptive she was. He didn’t seem to realize that it was just as much his talent as it was hers.

#1

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Because he had a way of finding beauty in absolutely everything, even the smallest things. He was like no one else.

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I miss you very, very much, David Thermostat Willoughby. And I know I’m not the only one. You are loved still.

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One thought on “In Memoriam

  1. Amazing photographs, thank you for sharing. I am very sorry that you lost a good friend. I lost my best friend at age 17 to suicide.

    Like

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