Things like this are why I love Katie West’s work. Normally she’s known as a self-portrait photographer; but she expresses herself so well in any format she chooses. This appeals to me both directly if not exactly, and in wanting a woman who thinks like this.

How I choose my lovers

I find them on subways reading books I have on my list of Books To Read. I find them at bars dancing more enthusiastically than anyone else; even if they can’t really dance. I find them in line at the grocery store on a Friday night buying cookie dough, milk and that’s it. I find them in the Canadian poetry section of bookstores. I find them at work, having great ideas and wearing seasonal socks. I find them on the internet, creating things that make me wish I had thought of it first.

When I sit beside them, they smile. They’re easy to talk to. Their intelligence surpasses my own. Their vocabulary makes me swoon. Their brilliance with words makes me start to imagine them naked. They make me smile at a frequency I feel is too much for any respectable person, so I bite my lip in an effort to stop. After half an hour in their presence, my lips are sore, and yet I still wouldn’t refuse their kiss.

The way they see the world is very different from the way I see it, and we can share our views and always our eyes get wider. They listen to me. (So very few people actually listen to me.) They make me laugh; I make them laugh. We are at a party and they say something so beyond everyone else’s scope with an ease that makes me lean into them hard. But they do it softly, and gently, so no one feels inferior, instead we all feel better for having heard it. They argue with a grace that moves me. Between their legs. They are collaborative. They are receptive to constructive criticism. They think honesty is the best policy.

They touch me gently in all the right places at all the right times in ways that only make me imagine them touching me roughly in all the right places at all the right times. I mean, they place their hand on the small of my back as I walk through doors in front of them, which makes me think of their hand on the small of my back as I’m on all fours in front of them. They lean in and whisper things in my ear that are completely inappropriate at the absolute worst moments because they know it makes me crazy. They hold my hand like they mean it.

These are the sorts of people I choose as my lovers. You see how so much of what you fret about is non-existent in my process? Believe it’s true for others. And love you how I love you, okay?

— Katie West

Katie West - Black & White coverKatie has also recently self-published another collection of self-portraits. Definitely not safe for my family or work, but her work is always incredible. I have a print of hers hanging on my wall, (the only other photographer’s work on my walls is Dorthea Lange). It’s cheap, it’s filled with amazing images, it’s only a click away… buy it!