Iranian photographer Laurence Rasti travelled to the Denizli (Turkey) to meet gay refugees who are now seeking refuge, due to fear of death, violence and persecution. LGBT+ Iranians have no option but to either flee their country, hide their sexual identity or transition (which would probably still pose an issue in Iran).
In 2011 Iranian former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave a speech at Columbia University where he claimed that unlike America, there aren’t any gay people in Iran (lol). This comment was the catalyst for outrage, which Rasti focused her project on, but rather than focusing on the negatives, her photographs highlight the beauty and innocence of love, whilst still subtly concealing the identity of the subjects.
This context of uncertainty, where anonymity is the best protection, this series of photographs questions the fragile nature of identity and gender concepts. It tries to give back to these people a face that their country has temporarily stolen
Laurence captured my attention as her previous projects also have connotations towards gender constructions within our heteronormative society. Whilst this particular project has a truly terrifying and heartbreaking background narrative, the photographs are so affectionate, sweet and almost comforting.