Photography: Vincent Wechselberger
In Collaboration with VITIUM
Design: Sebastian Millot
Creative Production: Max Wegman
Creative Director: Matt Lambert
All Images Created At Whole Festival United Queer Festival 26-28.08.2022
In this interview, we explore the zine “HOLES” and Vincent Wechselberger‘s inspiration for the project. The idea originated at a party and evolved into a photo shoot at the Whole Festival. Participants were approached with banners displaying “SHOW YOUR HOLE,” and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. The aim of the zine is to celebrate queerness and challenge the stigma associated with buttholes. Vincent Wechselberger discusses the challenges of photography, intimacy, and societal taboos, highlighting the importance of making participants feel comfortable during the shoot.
Pornceptual: Can you tell us more about your zine “HOLES”? What inspired you to undertake this project?
Vincent Wechselberger: To be honest, it all started with a vague idea at a party. My good friend Max asked me: hey wanna shoot holes at the Whole Festival? I was totally excited about the idea and we started with first test shoots and developed concepts for the best ways to set up a shoot like this. At that time we didn’t know exactly what we wanted to do with the outcome.. When we got the scans of the negatives back the idea of a zine was born. We then started collecting quotes from participants about the most memorable experience with their hole and then with a lot of help from Matt and Sebastian, we’ve been putting this publication together.
P: How did you approach the people you photographed for the project, and what was their reaction when you asked them to participate?
We had 2 huge banners with the phrase “SHOW YOUR HOLE” written on them, conveniently located between two stages at the festival. We didn’t really have to do much to get people’s attention. Max explained our plan to every interested person. Almost everyone was excited about the idea and we ended up photographing 70 people. There were times when we had a long line of people waiting.
P: The butthole is often stigmatized and seen as taboo. What message do you hope to convey through your photographs and the insights shared by the owners of these buttholes?
We wanted to celebrate queerness and our special relationship with our holes in all their uniqueness. Since shame and other negative feelings are still often associated with this part of the body, I hope this publication will counteract that a bit and we can all be a little more relaxed about the subject.
P: How do you navigate the complex relationship between photography, intimacy, and the stigmatization of our most intimate orifice in your work?
We wanted to make being photographed as comfortable as possible for the participants and to see the process of the shoot as very “normal” to humanize the subject matter. Besides, you can’t do this project just anywhere, Whole Festival is a special place. It still wasn’t the easiest thing to do under the open sky at a festival, but given the circumstances, we managed it well.
I think you can see and feel the comfort in the pictures, which aims to remove taboo. The stories people shared, from comedic to traumatic, also added humanity and connection despite not seeing peoples’ faces.
P: What has been your biggest challenge as a photographer, and how have you overcome it?
I’m just getting started, so the biggest challenge so far has been calling myself a photographer.
P: Any upcoming projects and dreams for the future?
I am currently working on a long term, documentary photo project in collaboration with queer sexworkers around the world which hopefully will also be released as a book.