exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Story-telling

Alexander Detellio


Date of Interview: June 14, 2017

Name: Alexander Detellio

Age: 27

Pronouns: He/Him

Location: Chicago, IL


How often do you bathe or shower?

Normally, I’m a once a day person. But when it’s really gross out I sometimes shower twice a day [laughter]. Mainly showers. Although, when I’m depressed, I take baths. This is one of the most un-depressing baths I’ve had in a very long time [laughter].

If you were an underwater creature what would it be?

I’ve always been obsessed with giant squids. That’s from reading “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” growing up. So I guess I would be that [laughter].

Do your books play a major role in your life?

Yeah. My life revolves around literature, not just my everyday life but specifically my hopes and dreams for life. It’s very influenced by all sorts of stories.

What are you passionate about?

Well, literature, obviously but I think in a more general sense, storytelling is something that I feel has a moral force. So I’ve developed a passion for stories, but it doesn’t have to just be fiction or books. Even the best philosophy, which is something else that I’m passionate about, can also tell a story- even if it’s veiled in philosophical jargon. This is something I’m discovering about myself recently: being an outcast growing up, I retreated to stories and it was something that gave me a release and then as I got older and studied stories, I don’t know, I was able to figure out how stories can affect people more generally. So I guess a combination of my experience growing up and then wanting to help other people in finding out that stories can do that.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?

In life in general? I guess probably writing my undergraduate thesis [laughter]. Well, because part one is an academic essay and part two is a short story. The short story was just a bit longer than the essay and actually helped me work on a lot of questions I have about the world. And also doing it in such a way that gave it a formal merit. I felt super accomplished by writing this short story that other people who read it thought was pretty decent.

What is something you still struggle with?

Something I struggle with. I guess probably overcoming kind of depressive states that– I don’t even know how to put this– that I force on myself to an extent. Like wallowing in that sort of thing. And I think that probably stems from my experiences when I was younger. I mean, high school’s a fucking terrible place and I was definitely an overweight kind of nerdy kid and the jocks loved picking on me for that. So that was that sort of thing. And then there’s other stuff I guess. Parents [inaudible] divorce when I was 12 or 13. That affected it as well. But it turns out that that was for the better so in hindsight yeah [laughter].

What do you think of relationships, platonic, sexual, and otherwise?

Oh, well. Humans are relational creatures obviously. It’s how we function. So I value relationships pretty heavily, although I’m the type of person where, at different points of my life, I’ve had different types of relationships as you know. So in some cases, I’ve had lots of friends and only a few really close friends. And in other cases, it’s gone the other way. As I’ve gotten a little bit older, I think I value quality relationships. That being said, sexual relationships have probably been more quantity than quality over the years. But I think that’s because I’m narcissistic or something [laughter]. There’s some truth for you [laughter].

What does the word relationship mean to you?

What sense of the word relationship do you mean? I don’t know. I guess it’s like there’s different types of love, right? Different Greek words for love. And this is from me studying religious things but [inaudible]. There’s romantic love, there’s familial love, friendship love, and the one that may or may not be there: God love. And I guess, I– that fits it pretty well. And we don’t have English words for that. So the Greek words work pretty well. I don’t know. I guess I follow that pretty closely.


Mark Williams Hoelscher

Mark Williams Hoelscher


Date of Interview: October 20, 2016

Name: Mark Williams Hoelscher

Age: 24

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Location: Washington, DC


What are you passionate about?

I’m really passionate about telling people’s stories. I think that finding people whose life experiences are representative of larger social economic or social issues and telling those stories in a engaging and beautiful way can actively make social change. I think that there are people out there who are trying to make the world a better place, but don’t necessarily have the audience to get their message to the general public. One reason is because a lot of people who are doing important work are so focused in on what they’re doing, that the communication side isn’t at the front of their mind. I think it’s really important to have someone whose job it is to try and make people’s stories engaging, and to try and produce them in a way that people will want to pay attention to.

How do you go about telling these narratives?

I’m a photographer and filmmaker. Images are so important to the public consciousness, and it’s possible to make stuff that has real impact. I think that in the age of social media, where people are constantly bombarded with imagery, the only way to break through and make people interested in what you’re doing is to create something immediately eye catching, beautiful and cohesive. You gotta get people to stop scrolling down facebook or instagram and take a second to really look. One thing about Instagram and Facebook images is that they appear authentic and raw, but there’s something valuable about a well crafted and well produced story

Do you think there’s a difference between photographers using media and taking photos for the memories?

Everyone who takes photos is a photographer. The device that’s used (whether a cell phone or an expensive DSLR) isn’t really what makes someone a photographer. It’s the process. Photography is about intent and purpose. There’s a difference between going around snapping pictures without thinking, and giving considering to what you’re taking a picture of, why you’re taking a picture of it, and what information you can deliver through your photographs. When you’re taking pictures in an intentional way you’re crafting a story.  You can use story and process to make social impact.

What is your story?

I’ve always had this innate desire to document. I think that photography is less about showing a moment and more about showing the perfect moment, the decisive moment. I think my story is my search or desire to find perfection that doesn’t really exist in real life. Trying to capture this one frame that shows who someone is or shows what an event felt like to be there. I think I’m looking for truth, but have strongly come to the conclusion that all photographs are lies. Photographs don’t tell the truth, they show the world through one person’s perspective. Photographs document what you wish was true.

What do you think of relationships? Platonic, sexual and otherwise.

I think that relationships are how we learn about ourselves. Having them and losing them are how we learn about ourselves. I think you don’t know truly who you are until you go through a really nasty breakup. We’re really social creatures, so having that give and take with having relationships and losing relationships is how we end up knowing who we are.

What is something that you struggle with?

I constantly struggle with the thought that everything I’m working towards is totally bullshit. That nothing I’m doing is important. There are some days I wake up and feel like what I’m working towards is good and positive and meaningful and other days I wake up and I think that nothing is real, art is bullshit and meaningless, and that is no way that I can make a difference. I also struggle with the idea that deep down, all my work is all about me. I want to say I’m out there making art because I want to make a difference but I worry about the fact that I might just be super selfish and everything I do ends up being all about myself. The reason I worry about it is because I don’t want it to be true, but when I find myself posting photographs on my website or social media and getting likes and getting new followers and I get excited by that- I worry that I’m on this self obsessed quest for self validation.

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