Ashkan Shabani

Freelance Photographer
    
"Eshgh, Tars, Azadi" (Love, Fear, Freedom)
Location: Istanbul
Nationality: Turkey
Biography: I'm a self-educated photographer and visual storyteller based in Turkey. When I was a teenager I started photography by taking family pictures. In 2016, I started working as a photographer for a local news agency called DiyarMirza which led... read on
Public Story
"Eshgh, Tars, Azadi" (Love, Fear, Freedom)
Credits: ashkan shabani
Date of Work: 04/04/18 - 10/22/21
Updated: 01/22/21

Iranians face many obstacles. Some come from the regime imposing ideological restrictions and political pressure, while others result from the strained economic situation. Still, more pressure comes from the public’s closed, traditional way of thinking. Homosexuality is a target that both society and the regime oppose. In post-revolutionary Iran, any type of sexual activity outside a heterosexual marriage is forbidden and homosexual sex is punishable by death based on laws of Sharia. For over 40 years, the Islamic Republic of Iran has denied that gays exist in the country. Iran is among the few countries in the world where homosexuals still risk execution for their sexual orientation. As a result, gay men and women live with systematic suppression, discrimination, family rejection, and judicial problems. They live their lives in fear every day. Despite this, under the skin of Tehran and many other cities, homosexuals find ways to overcome these restrictions so they can pursue love, life, and a future that recognizes their existence. The idea of freedom still seems remote.

"Eshgh, Tars, Azadi" (Love, Fear, Freedom) follows four Iranian homosexuals’ daily lives, struggles, risks, and their pursuit of love. One story is about Muhammad and Amir Ali, a gay couple who have been living together in secret in a small house in Tehran and struggling financially and emotionally. Another tells the story of Negin and Rana, a lesbian couple who are trying to maintain their relationship without their families' knowledge.

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