Love. What is love? Can you define it, describe it, grasp it? Many philosophers, writers and great thinkers have tried to put into words what this unearthly phenomenon – The most beautiful of all emotions, is to them. For Hoffmann von Fallersleben love was the greatest of all wonders. Aristotle said that, if love would rule the world, there would be no need for laws. Goethe said love has the power to make the impossible, possible.
Photographer Robin Hammond has elicited a light through his images on his take on illegal love. Where this exact feeling is forbidden, where you will be banned from society, from your family, where you can be punished, even to death for falling for the wrong person; for feeling, what you feel, sounds like fiction, but it isn’t. Nearly 2.8 billion people live in countries where identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex is subject to rampant discrimination, criminalization and even death. Same-sex acts are illegal in 75 countries, and in 5 – One can be put to death.
Where Love Is Illegal documents these stories of discrimination and survival from around the globe. It’s not just a portrait series. The countries, those portraited people live in, don’t want their stories to be heard. Where Love Is Illegal was created to help, give those people a voice, it was created to help them share their stories.
Photographer Robin Hammond has won, among other awards, the Amnesty International award for Human Rights journalism four times. He has dedicated his career to documenting human rights and development issues around the would though long-term photographic projects.
So far, for Where Love Is Illegal, he has visited 7 countries to document stories from 65 people of 15 different nationalities. The portraited people decided on their on terms how they wanted to be seen, they decided on their own terms, if they wanted to show their faces or not and they also wrote down and recorded their own testimony.
Bigotry thrives where people are silent. Don’t be silent. Stand up. Spread the word. End discrimination against LGBTI populations and help create a world where love is never illegal.
Robin Hammond: Where Love Is Illegal at Jarvis Dooney Galerie
June 17 – July 16, 2016 (a non-profit exhibition)