One of the coolest parts of my job is that I get to go experience people’s lives every now and then. Last week I interviewed local artist Mike Garlington for the North Bay Bohemian. I visited Garlington at his studio and watched him take a picture of a girl with a live ferret in her mouth for his twisted fairy tales series. I know! Then Garlington very generously showed me how to develop photos in a darkroom. Here’s an excerpt:

Michael Garlington is photographing a woman with a ferret in her mouth. The ferret stands on a stump, its head deep in the back of the woman’s throat. It is licking saliva off her tongue, its white feet trembling to keep balance.

The woman is Cassidy Slater, one of many models who pose for Garlington for no payment other than a print of the photo. Slater is the model Garlington calls when he has a particularly weird concept, because, they both explain, she’s “up for anything.”

Today, Slater is wearing a drop-waist dress and her long hair is in ponytails. She’s sitting by a fence at the end of the country road outside of Petaluma. Garlington, who is standing a few feet away with a Polaroid camera, tells her to look at him while the ferret is in her mouth.

“That’s so good,” he says, looking through the camera. “The eyes will be like, ‘Am I doing something bad?’ Oh, this could be such a good fairy tale. ‘Hungry, hungry Etta, sitting by the fence.'”

More here.

Michael Garlington’s website.

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