Once we got wind of the fact that multiple students were selling pictures of their feet for money we knew we had to know more. “It was interesting learning about a community I didn’t know about previously” Erin Gabel who did audio and video for our story said. None of us had heard of this before. “I really enjoyed taking a taboo topic with all of our negative preconceived judgments about it and flipping it all on its head. I feel that I have a deeper understanding of sexuality and how people can creatively make money.” Leah Castillo.
Finding anonymous sources was a huge struggle of ours. Leah posted on a few Cal Poly class of 2019, 2020, 2021 Facebook pages and ultimately that is how we found our sources. However, there were many internet trolls having a field day with our topic. My personal social media account posts also were also not taken seriously, which added another obstacle for our sources and audience research. Although I did have a significant amount of people legitimately ask me how they could make money selling pictures of their feet. I thought this was interesting and found this article online which I have somewhat jokingly sent back to them.
Multiple sellers we were talking to who were initially okay with being a named source backed out. Since one of the things that drives people to selling feet pictures is the anonymity factor, it was difficult to convince people to feel comfortable being identified.
Finally once we found George, who is comfortable being named and was open to talking about his experience, Leah and Erin did a video interview of his process in taking pictures of feet.
Again though this was a creative struggle because there was not much to take pictures and video of since his process is rather simple.
When we went to interview Queer and Gender studies professor Steven Ruszczycky, he was not comfortable being filmed, so we could only record audio which limited our audio-visual opportunities. The interview with professor Ruszczycky was beneficial in shaping our story. He helped us to understand where fetishes originate and the ways they are sexualized and normalized in our culture.
For our final source I interviewed a female Cal Poly student who has sold multiple feet pictures. The way she normalized her experience really illustrated why people do this. “My favorite thing about this story was that we got to see the different perspectives from each gender selling feet pictures. They both brought very interesting things to the table.” Dante DiFronzo our written reported said.
College students are always looking for new ways to make money and with minimal effort, which is why many people get started in the business. I talked on the phone to our anonymous Cal Poly student source and she brought up an interesting point about how it takes a lot for people to be willing to take pictures of their feet for money but that it is out of necessity. said “It is kind of crazy the degree that like people our age in college will go to be able to afford a very practical lifestyle.”
This process was definitely not easy but the final story is something we are all proud of.