Ten minutes ago I was supposed to meet photographer Mariah Channing at Barsa, the stylish tapas place on King. I’m working on a project and don’t mind that she’s late- but when my phone rings, and its her, we discover we’ve both arrived early and have been waiting separately. Channing waves across the restaurant, and comes over carrying her laptop and glass of water.
With her winged eye-liner, bow shaped lips, cat-eye glasses and a scattering of tattoos winking out from under her charcoal colored tee, Channing could be one of those mischievous sylphs on the cover of an alternative magazine. Her cameo necklace swings on a long thin silver chain as she sits, looking dreamily distracted, like a cat that’s just woken from a sunlit nap.
“I’ve been working on website stuff all day at the studio. Then I was at the Orange Spot- have you ever tried their cayenne tea?”
“ I haven’t,” I say, and she tells me its to die for.
She places her laptop between us and shows me her photographs.
“This one here, with the magnolias, that was an adventure. I bought this kiddie pool without really thinking about how I was going to make it all work. On the day of the shoot, I had to blow the whole thing up by myself and then run back and forth into the photo room with a pitcher to fill it up before my model came- and all these art students are sitting around outside Redux, sketching away and staring at me, wondering out what I was doing. I picked all the flowers by hand from trees by the side of the road. The model was from Model Mayhem. She was great.”
Channing crosses her hands over the back of her laptop, resting her chin over them with a sigh. “This cameo shape is hard to fit a picture inside. The shape is just so busy to begin with- I think maybe it just doesn’t work. I’m going to move towards using a circle frame. But this one,” she taps a cameo, “was in the Piccolo Spoleto exhibition...”
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Pauline West's first novel, EVENING’S LAND, is a Library Journal Self-e Selection, winner of the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation Award and recipient of the Carol Marie Smith Memorial Scholarship for the NOEPE Center of Literary Arts.
Pauline West's books on Goodreads
Candlemoth: A Holy City Romance
ratings: 27 (avg rating 4.04)
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Candlemoth Volume 2: How To Spend It
ratings: 10 (avg rating 4.40)
Candlemoth Book 3: A Twist of Fate
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.17)
Stalker: A Gothic Thriller
ratings: 4 (avg rating 4.25)