It’s hard to put 17 years of friendship into a few paragraphs. To try to convey the graciousness, compassion and support shared between true friends can be hard to explain in mere words. As I’m writing this article, that is what I am struggling to explain. How can one actually sum up that significance of a friendship and the effect that friendship has had on a person’s life? How do you really relay this when words fall short?
Perhaps through photographs…Photographs can capture the feelings and expressions that words cannot, one millisecond of time frozen in a photograph can convey so much emotion and reveal sides of us that we may not let many people see very often. Here in Phoenix, we have the opportunity to witness such an expression of a friendship and also of gratitude through a very personal art exhibit featuring never-before-seen Photographs of the multi-platinum vocalist of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington.
I recently had the opportunity to interview professional photographer and close personal friend of Chester, Jim Louvau. “He was always very supportive of what I was doing whether it was musically or in photography and art. When I was barely getting interested in photography, he was one of the first people I worked with and did photo-shoots with.” With Linkin Park just beginning to soar in popularity and Chester’s career beginning to take off, it became like a domino effect. People taking notice of Linkin Park thus became to take notice of Jim as a photographer working with Chester. “This was my first big break, outside of concert photography and that came courtesy of Chester.”
For over 17 years Jim and Chester remained close friends, Jim recalled one recent memory that really encapsulated the gracious being Chester really was. When Chester learned Jim and his wife were expecting their first child, Chester said to Jim, “Pick a date, whenever you are free, go to my cabin up in Sedona, unplug your phones and spend as much time as you can together.” Jim and his wife did take Chester up on that offer. “It was a great experience and very generous and kind of him, just an aspect of Chester.”
Tragically, Chester died by suicide in July of 2017. However, in trying to make some good come of this tragedy, Chester’s widow Talinda Bennington, co-founded the 320 Changes Directions, coalition of concerned citizens, nonprofit leaders, and leaders from the private sector who have come together to change the culture in America about mental health, mental illness, and wellness. https://www.changedirection.org/
After two successful sold out events in Los Angeles, commemorating the life of Chester, Jim Louvau will be holding another in Chester’s hometown of Phoenix. “We
were able to make a nice donation from the L.A. exhibits, and I’m hoping Phoenix rises to the challenge as well.”
“For years Chester was my friend and part of my story. And I went on to do a lot of really cool things because of that. Now that he’s gone and I’m doing these exhibits the part that he played, is very amplified. Those were gifts he gave to me in the beginning and he’s still giving me those now. It’s a tribute, it’s a thank you and it’s the least I could do.”
CELEBRATING THE LIFE OF CHESTER BENNINGTON: A PHOTO EXHIBIT BY JIM LOUVAU will be held at the monOrchid 214 East Roosevelt Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004 on Friday, June 21st from 6:30 to 10:00pm. A limited amount of tickets for the event are on sale now for $35, with a portion of proceeds being donated to 320 Changes Direction. Tickets are available here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/opening-celebrating-the-life-of-chester-bennington-by-jim-louvau-tickets-61273526768?aff=JimL&fbclid=IwAR3g9dFfz4REv-N0m1bTrbUZQRM5IfGmt-QogZjSijTYrjW6htBN4PKbEAg
To purchase prints or find more information on JIM LOUVAU and his work visit www.louvau.com IG: @jimlouvau Twitter: @LouvauPhoto
~Dannielle Fowler, No Cover Arizona – Assistant Editor