Without a doubt, the greatest joy I have found in making 100 NUDE Shoots is in the amazing collaborations the project has given me the opportunity to make. It is LGBT Pride month, and no better time to present to you this transamerican collaboration, a nude manifesto and visual poem that is a photo series of me by photographer Yeu Sánchez, from Costa Rica, and interpreted and adorned with a 3-part poem by poet Dave Russo from the United States. It speaks of the freedom to be, to show oneself, naked, unharassed, unhindered, unspoiled, uncensored, unharnessed, unleashed. A statement and a stance against oppression, abuse, ignorance and control.
Dave Russo is a retired attorney enjoying a second career in the creative world. His personal philosophy about the non-finite nature of love and beauty of polyamorous relationships is deeply entrenched in his poetic work. He is a political activist, mentor and patron of the arts. Yeu Sánchez is a fashion photographer from Costa Rica who loves beautiful faces and human shapes. Having been extensively covering the brazilian fashion scene for the past few years, Yeu developed a special interest in male nude photography.
But enough talk. Here is “Pride”, a 3-part nude manifesto and visual poem by Dave Russo, Hugo and Yeu.
Why must I struggle for dignity
flanked by insults and peril.
The barriers along my path,
are erected by affected piety,
reflective of individuals
long-poisoned by pulpit,
quaint delusions of propriety.
You foster public condemnation,
with weapons of black ink to obscure,
scissors to censor,
urgency to protect the unharmed
and redeem the sinless.
The blind and timid
shake their heads,
clatter in frenzied indignation.
Honesty fosters pride.
I feel no need for disguise,
nor to hide myself
from the blinded crowd.
You hate me for my freedom.
What you censure, indict as lust,
I behold as the dazzling beauty of Nature.
Together we ride the waves of time.
I pull free of imposed shame,
but you grasp to take it with you.
I am not dirty.
Your feigned indignity
is heavy with the odor of hypocrisy.
I reject you, your accusations,
and celebrate glorious expression
of who I am,
how I am sculpted,
how I love.
Pride lifts me high.
It shines from my eyes,
forms upon my lips,
radiates from my smile.
I wear it when I am clothed.
And when I am not.
Pride surrounds me,
embraces my fears
and transforms them.
When you encounter me,
the dazzling rainbow you see
holds me immune from ignorance.
Take my hand and hear my story.
“I like to explore the marriage to be made between visual art and poetry, and how, together, they can create impetus for social progress. Life and purpose, for me, have been redefined, focused, on what I hope to do to Resist and Progress. The naked body can be a guide to help take our gender into a new age of self-respect and ownership of our bodies and sexuality.” — Dave Russo
“Hugo was so open and easy to direct, very conscious of his body, like he abandoned himself to every click of my camera and let the moment guide him. It really was a unique experience, especially coming from a country like mine where people have such closed minds and nude photography is still a taboo. Shooting this series for Pride felt almost like the Brazilian utopia of openness and sexual freedom come true.” — Yeu Sánchez
This is probably the most important collaboration I’ve made so far in this Project, due to the coincidence of the moment (LGBT Pride month 2017), the form (a collaboration between artists from the 3 Americas) and the context in which it is inserted (the escalade of fundamentalism and repression in the world). What did you think of it? Yeu, Dave and I would love to hear it.
Also, I’ve published this shoot with a couple of extras on Patreon. If you’d like to see them, as well as to discover many different ways you and I can engage in the making of 100 NUDE Shoots, please take a minute to visit my Patreon page and consider collaborating.