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Each of Ashley's videos is co-owned by everyone involved, yet another reaction to unsavory and capitalistic aspects of the sex industry."Any idea that you have of exploitation in the porn industry, of profiting off someone else's sexual labor, it all goes back to the idea of making content 'seen' to make a profit.
Indeed, one of her recent short films, titled , highlights the intricacies and minutiae of sex (breath, sweat, touches).A mirage of close-up shots means the video becomes more about atmosphere and experience, and less about clarity…or, simply, fucking.Ashley started Four Chambers after a period of working on nude art stills, which led to an opportunity to experiment with moving image."It's about not being afraid of being graphically sexual while focusing on things that I find interesting in films such as concept and aesthetics," she explains.On any given morning, 6,000 people from around the world turn on their computers to watch Vex Ashley, a 25-year-old cam girl and an independent pornographer from Leeds, take her clothes off.Fair skinned with long, lilac hair and an affinity for winged eyeliner and delicate jewelry, it's easy to see why Ashley (a pseudonym created when she first started undressing on the internet) is often labeled a "tasteful" porn star.
Her fledgling erotica studio and artist co-op, Four Chambers, which combines sex and cinema to make highly-stylized porn shorts on a crowdfunded donation basis, tackles sexuality with an eye for aesthetics not often found in mainstream porn.
Still, "tasteful porn" is not a trademark with which Ashley, a fine arts graduate, necessarily wants to be associated."I understand that it comes from a place of wanting to put the kind of thing I'm doing in a space that feels more comfortable," she says, explaining that "camming" is as much about adult entertainment as it is playing a role of sexual health coach, "but I find the argument of putting someone's personal choice down in order to lift somebody else's up, a difficult one.
I think there's room in porn for all different kinds of sexual expression.
The idea that the porn I make is tasteful and, therefore acceptable, means that there is also an unacceptable and 'wrong' [version of porn] and that is not a helpful argument to make.""What is currently available on porn sites is made for one kind of viewer—the only viewer that producers think will make them a profit: hetero white guys," she says.
"It means that people feel their sexuailty is not represented in porn, and, because these ideal consumers in the eyes of the porn producers have so much content to access, the filmmakers start to one-up each other…There's gotta be more dicks, more holes.
And as an outsider, someone who has never engaged with that, it can be quite overwhelming and can seem very othering."Rather than making traditional porn, Ashley decided to forgo turning a profit from Four Chambers (she makes enough from camming to cover her own living costs, she says) and instead relies on pre-order donations from supporters which allows her to make "weird stuff, experimental stuff, and to work with who I want.""I'd like to think there's more to experience in our videos than the sex," she says, noting that over half of her viewers identify as female.