In Iran, being actively gay carries a potential death sentence. To survive, gay men and lesbians in Iran must either leave the country, conceal their sexuality or transition. Iranian photographer Laurence Rasti travelled to the Turkish town of Denizli to meet the gay refugees who are now seeking refuge. The projects title, There are no homosexuals in Iran, reflects remarks made by Iranian former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University in which he argued that in Iran, unlike America, there simply weren’t any gay people. Laurence manages to convey the intimate innocence of love while keeping her subjects’ identities hidden — by balloons, a patterned sheet, flowers, a shrub. “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 says of her work.
Illustrator Gwendal Le Bec is known for his pithy observations and well-observed moments in his work. His series of illustrations for The Sunday Times’ Love Column are the epitome of his joyous, cartoonish style, as Gwendal depicts the woes and worries of modern relationships and love through visually engaging vignettes.