Mourning my Friend: Walt Cessna

Two months ago I lost a close friend and the world lost a great talent: photographer, writer, stylist & visionary Walt Cessna. I had known him for seven years and we collaborated for just as long. Shooting together can be a good springboard for a friendship - the vulnerability, the intimacy. Some photographers remain hidden behind their lens but Walt shot almost exclusively from his his own apartment, leaving rarely a moment of silence and posting intimately artful selfies before that was even a word.

Eventually we stopped planning shoots and would just hang. I’d come over to chill and we’d put on music and talk - pretending we weren’t going to shoot but the light would hit in just the right way and he’d demand I freeze so he could get his camera. He’d criticize my outfit and make me put on something from his closet, bragging about how cheap he got it from Target or telling me about this amazing, unknown talent who gave it to him to shoot with. He was constantly inspired and inspiring. Making art together was inevitable.

Walt not only introduced me to the alternative art scene of NYC but was one of the gatekeepers of this world. He helped me realign my values to focus more on the consistent creation of quality art and less on the approval and acceptance of it by my peers. He had high standards and stood by them strongly. It wasn’t always easy being his friend but you always wanted him by your side.

My Personal Tribute to Walt, ‘Expiration Date’

My worlds collided when I had a new song set to release the next day with a video shot in a graveyard using death and all it’s rich imagery as a symbol for the end of a romance. I was painfully conflicted about releasing this but it had been in the works for months and the launch was happening regardless.

I decided the song would take on a new meaning and just as I had re-interpreted songs by my favorite artists for years, I would reinterpret my own song and dedicate it to my friend, Walt Cessna.

I take solace in the message of the song because if all things are temporary - so is the pain of this loss.

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