Irina Vega: « There is another type of porn beyond mainstream »

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At the beginning of 2020, the AltPorn4U.com website looked a lot like a small independent porn Netflix that brought together a large part of the Spanish indie scene and was even beginning to open up beyond the Iberian borders, aiming to be both a producer and broadcaster of alternative content. Although things have changed for the site in the past few months, its creator Irina Vega is still determined to continue her work. She has agreed to tell us why.

Can you introduce us to “altporn4u”? You often use the word “community” to refer to AltPorn4U, what does this word mean to you?

AltPorn4U was born out of the need for alternative porn in Spain since it was non-existent in 2005. I have always headed the project. I started introducing alternative pron through my own creations and in a totally self-taught way, working with performers who had the same interests.

Little by little I was building a community where other directors, photographers and other independent artists have a place where they can share and show their own creations. Back then, there was no platform for that. Everything was gathered in one place and focused on Creators, to show users that other sensibilities in porn could exist. 

When and how did the idea of Altporn4u come about? How has it evolved over time? How do you look back on all these years of work?

Altporn4u has been growing as a community platform, its peak was at the beginning of 2020, when it was being a platform meant for porn creators to share videos, art, illustrations… But a few months ago, a business partner left the project to follow a different, more mainstream path. I wanted to preserve the indie side, that is why I had to take a step back and finally focused on my work as a producer. 

But the community project was very powerful and with a lot of momentum, in fact it was more and more successful both with Creators who joined and with users, creating a very interesting community. So I hope that in the future I can find the right people and resume the project.

How do you see the porn industry today? How do you see the evolution of freelancers everywhere? Is the vitality of freelancers, particularly thanks to the internet, shaking up the world of porn? Is the internet so important?

I think that porn is diversifying into 2 very visible branches, between amateur porn and professional porn. Amateur porn is clearly represented by all performers who can make their own content through platforms designed for them. Professional porn is made of the usual production companies. With indie porn, I think we are somewhere in-between, in a fuzzy limbo between them haha.

And yes, of course I like that performers can finally contribute to their own future and can create content easier, it keeps making porn richer. It also allows new performers to emerge after being ignored by mainstream producers (as tattooed people) and they really create very interesting content and have a great audience.

On your website, one of the first words we see is “ethical”. What is ethical porn for you?

The idea of ethics is subjective for everyone, it is doing something that you are convinced is correct. We believe that abiding by the following points is the correct way to work in porn:
– Diversity and feminism (body shapes, gender identities, ages (+18), ethnic groups…)
– All performers’ pleasure matters
– Before the shoot, performers can choose who their sexual partners are, talk about their sexual tastes, they agree on sexual practices to be performed
– Performers can choose if they want to use a condom or not, providing up-to-date STD tests
– Making content that one can be proud of
– Fair payments in all areas. By promoting content sharing, the performers generate long-term benefits
– Every Director or Studio we feature is licensed or paid by commission from the sale of their content
– High quality content, both emotionally and technically

You can also check out more of our values in our manifesto.

Is there a political vision of porn behind Altporn? Are you trying to change the rules of the porn industry?

I’m not trying to change anything, I’d rather see people investigate, analyze and draw their own conclusions.The users are aware that the way they consume is what can change things. I would just like users to know that there is another type of porn beyond the mainstream. Indie porn producers like us, we care about showing real and creative porn and we care about the pleasure of the performers over the money. 

Would you say that your movies are feminist movies? What do you think feminist porn should be?

I have always thought about my films as feminist ones and I have never had to say it out loud. But a few years ago, it started to seem like your content wasn’t feminist if you did not put the feminist label on it. I’m kind of kidding, but it’s the truth.

We have always thought about the pleasure of all kinds of people and about simply showing the pleasure of the performers, both women and men, without judging and without trying to abide by standards. Obviously, if we had found something negative or hurtful in an AltPorn4U Film, we would have rejected it. 

How can we deconstruct stereotypes related to sexuality? In particular, is the issue of consent discussed when you prepare shoots and select videos? Do you pay special attention to showing different kinds of bodies?

Exactly. Normalization, that’s the key. I love shooting with very diverse people. I think that’s the difficult thing. It’s very easy to work with performers matching the typical beauty canons imposed by society. But it can be difficult for a person who is chubby, hairy, out of the norm and who is comfortable with their body to be comfortable with showing their sexuality. I think that we must give full support to these people since the normalization of diversity is sorely lacking in society, in social media and in porn.

The first time I saw your work, the word that came to me was “punk”. I think that your productions arer a little bit in the spirit of “Tank Girl” comics. Would that be a good qualifier? Is it something that you wanted to do?

Alicia Tank

We love to experiment with all kinds of aesthetics. Our first jobs were with Alica Tank, who is probably the first alternative porn actress in Spain. She and her partner do live by punk ideas. It has been wonderful to work with people who share their concerns and fantasies with you. Alicia in particular liked the character of Tank Girl and most of the photographs and scenes made with her have a certain aesthetic influenced by the comics. And this is just one example of our way of working. We always immerse ourselves in all the ideas that the performers offer and everything they can teach us. 

I’ve loved shooting scenes with bisexual men for years. I’m in touch with several new performers who want to start, hopefully I can finally shoot these scenes soon. I don’t have any special aesthetics in mind until we all talk and put ideas in common, this is how we work, always hand in hand with the performers.

The other thing that stands out when watching some of your videos are the smiles, the joy of the actors. Is it a will to show people having fun?

Yes, when I record sex in its purest form, I love seeing and showing that people are having fun. When I shoot a fantasy, a more theatrical scene, then we get more serious. But I always like to add extra bloopers at the end of the scene where we can see laughs and anecdotes from the filming.

Some videos on the site use VR, is it a technology you believe in?

We used this technology in the past when altporn4u was a creator platform, we are not currently using it. But I would love to try to give it a twist and experiment, we surely can do many interesting things and not only POVs 

You decided to close your Pornhub account. Can you explain why? Did it impact the traffic to your site? Was it an important advertising tool or has it been negligible for a long time?

I decided to close the AltPorn4U Pornhub accounts for ethical reasons. I did not want to participate to or consume porn from that platform. I recommend having a look a the documentary Pornocracy by director Ovidie, at this petition on Change.org with a lot of information and at this page

I have not noticed any change in the visits to my website. Nor did I notice anything different when I had the accounts, I firmly believe that it is a false belief that they advertise you. They do not.

« Pornocratie » par Ovidie

Spain seems to be a fertile ground for the independent porn industry. Is that an impression you share? Why?

Yes, it is, like many other countries where not a lot of porn is produced, it makes performers find other ways, both making amateur porn for themselves and collaborating with independent Creators who make quality porn.

In addition to Altporn4U, you also manage the company European Muses. Can you explain what this job is about?

European Muses is an agency for performers and models. We work with both independent and mainstream production companies, helping them with casting and offering them all kinds of performers and models since we are committed to diversity of aesthetics. We always think about helping performers by offering them jobs that may interest them.

What do you consider your main job today? Producer? Director? Broadcaster?

I’m focusing on my work as a director and producer at AltPorn4U.com. Right now, I’m also finishing the writing for my first illustrated erotic novel, Partners in Crime: Give me more. It is my first time working as a writer and I find it a very interesting experience – it is more fun than I thought. I’m very excited about this project and it will be released next month! Partners in Crime is about a couple that gets into swinging and they play on sexual challenges that are getting bigger and bigger.

How do you see the future of Altporn4U? Of the porn industry? Do you ever think about a life after porn? Or do you see yourself still working in this universe for a long time?

As I said earlier, I would like to take up the Independent Porn Makers community project. I don’t know if under the name AltPorn4U or under another brand, but I think it has potential and is very interesting so that we can be united and create content together.

I have also thought about working on other things related to nutrition, veganism and zero waste. I’m very much in favor of consumer awareness, at the end of the day we are the ones with the power in our economy.

But anyway, I would not quit my job in porn. I like it a lot, I love it and I hope I can continue working in it for a long time. It is fully compatible with any other activity! I think that this job is compatible with any other activity, even not related to sexwork. Most directors I know have their conventional jobs and direct their porn movies as something extra from time to time. So no, I would not quit my job in porn.

You can find AltPorn4U movies on ManyVids, or PinkLabel.tv

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