Welcome to the (very NSFW) world of Instagram's wedgie community
Meet Benjamin Fredrickson, the ‘wedgie artist’ redefining eroticism.
When Brooklyn-based photographer Benjamin Fredrickson began taking photographs of wedgies, he found he’d tapped into something far more expansive than he ever expected. The shots he posted to Instagram prompted an outpouring of support from a lesser known segment of the kink community -- wedgie enthusiasts. “People started to get in touch, saying ‘thank you for doing this’ and ‘thank you for representing this’,” he says. “The community has been so warm, so welcoming.”
For now, Benjamin is working on the project from his basement studio, which he’s keen to show us. The door slams hard as we descend the steps into a suitably dungeon-like space. “Sometimes I worry I’ll get trapped down here when the door slams like that,” he says. The space is brilliantly versatile, with multiple chambers, archways and a low ceiling criss-crossed by steel pipes. “The pipes down here are perfect for my shots featuring contraptions,” the artist says. “I hadn’t seen any images like that, with contraptions. In the wedgie community everything seemed to be very physical, involving hands. I wanted to experiment with removing that aspect.”
After we speak, Benjamin will be doing a shoot with a classically trained dancer. “I’m excited to see how he can use his body, how he can move in ways a non-dancer might not be able to.” While some of his models are people he knows personally, others are volunteers who reached out to him through social media. “I love to see what they bring. I always explain to my models that there might not be a lot of posing, but rather a lot of holding single poses.” Unlike previous projects that have involved slow exposures and orthochromatic film, the wedgie series is freeing Benjamin up to embrace a faster paced style, inspired by the reactions of the community and the ideas they’ve shared with him “I’ve been using my iPhone a lot. I think there’s an immediacy there that’s exciting.”
We’re catching Benjamin at the beginning of an expansive series. “I’ve been so inspired by this, by the community. It’s been so refreshing and so exciting to be making work that’s connecting me with people in this way.” His only concern is simply that censorship on Instagram and other social media platforms might put the breaks on the project. “I can really appreciate now how much of a pain that would be, getting banned. The platform is really helping me to reach people and I want to continue doing that.” Not that he hasn’t been experimenting with other outlets and media, including a limited-edition zine. “I was interested to see if there’s an appetite for something more physical.” After posting about the zine on Insta, he was was inundated with queries and requests.
Photography Benjamin Fredrickson