Yogue Alencar is a 34-year-old photographer from Brasília with almost a decade of experience making female nude photography. Mostly known for his erotic photography portfolio on Suicide Girls and his authorial series called “Maison des Anges”, Yogue Alencar is a controversial “love or hate” social network celebrity: daily receiving and reposting tens of female and male nudes from his followers; very vocally expressing his opinions — as much about photography as about societal and personal morals; and being object and target of as much praise as controversy, ranging from die-hard fan testimonials and multitudes of wanna-be models to accusations of harassment from ex-girlfriends.
I had reached out to my friend Yogue proposing that he would photograph me just as he would a Suicide Girl or a Maison des Anges model — to live this experience of performing as a sensual female model. But when we finally got together for the shoot, he countered my offer with something completely different, and much more interesting: he wanted to kickstart a series about BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder).
Borderline personality disorder (BPD), also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder, is a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by unstable relationships with other people, unstable sense of self, and unstable emotions. There is often frequent dangerous behavior, a feeling of emptiness, self-harm, and an extreme fear of abandonment. Symptoms may be brought on by seemingly normal events. According to the American Psychiatric Publishing (2013), the behavior typically begins by early adulthood, and occurs across a variety of situations. Substance abuse, depression, and eating disorders are commonly associated with BPD, which also increases the risk of self-harm. 10% of people affected die by suicide.
Yogue himself has been diagnosed with BPD. He undergoes treatment and group therapy and wanted to somehow apply his talent to helping raise awareness to this condition, one so many people endure alone and helplessly for lack of diagnostic and support. So, for our photoshoot, we went exploring opposing, conflicting, shifting emotions. We also mixed shooting with digital and analog cameras. This is what we came up with, and called it “at the border“.
A couple of months after our afternoon session in Brasília, and as I was about to publish this shoot, it came to my knowledge that Yogue is facing accusations of harassment pressed by an ex-girlfriend. Every such accusation must be taken seriously. But I also have little knowledge of the actual facts in question and I’m in no position to judge. When we met we easily bonded and did a great collaboration, on a theme proposed by him to discuss his own personality disorder, about which he opened up, talked about the suffering it causes and the troubles he faced. Even though I later learned about these charges, I decided to publish this shoot, as I always do, to tell a story. Not to vouch for or to condemn. But to raise matters, or issues, that are important to me.
If internal or external conditions make us suffer, lose control of our actions, or hamper our rationality, to what extent are we responsible for our actions? And for how long in the future should we expect punishment for what we did in the past, consciously or not? Is it possible to atone for past mistakes? How can we do it? Who can and should pass judgement over other people’s conflicts or misdeeds? What is the best course of action when dealing with such controversial matters?
Harassment and abuse are serious matters, and allegations by victims should never be dismissed. But given or not the benefit of the doubt, wouldn’t it be better to tell this story and let each one be the judge of it based on their own experience, instead of keeping it with me forever? As I said, I am no judge. But — and it seems convenient we’re talking about BPD — specific facts and accusations aside, there’s always two sides to everything and everyone. No mind, sick or sane, is completely dark or bright. I don’t believe in punishment for the sake of revenge, but in making amends, and learning. That’s what I hope for for whoever, in any time, place and circumstance, is struggling with being a better person.
“I think my strong point is directing models to input my own ideas and emotions and not only take what is given to me. I like to make the most out of natural light, and try to perform the kind of photography that represents what I live and what I love. I work mainly with digital cameras, but I’ve been exploring analog photography as well. I manually develop my negatives at home.” — Yogue Alencar
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Finally, if you haven’t seen them yet, you can find the previous 28 NUDE Shoots here.