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)
Copyright ashkan shabani 2021
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.


Also by Ashkan Shabani —


You are not my son anymore

By Ashkan Shabani / Tehran — The existence of gay men is undeniable in Iran. Being a homosexual in a country where gays risk execution..


By Ashkan Shabani — The earth is one of the marvels of creation, and the way man dominates his long-held dream, that is dominant..


By Ashkan Shabani — The first day I heard about Corona's arrival in Iran, I decided to cover this international crisis in..

People down there

By Ashkan Shabani — Unlike Iran's government statement, as the number of infected and deaths increases nationwide,..

Caspian Sea pollution

By Ashkan Shabani / anzali — The Khazar or the Caspian Sea is a water area bound to Iran from the south and to Russia from the north. The..

A Fading Culture

By Ashkan Shabani — Periodic markets and especially weekly markets are one of peasant communities' features in the less..

Kermanshah Earthquake

By Ashkan Shabani / Kermanshah — The Iran-Iraq earthquake of 7.3 magnitudes happened on the evening of Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, near Azgaleh,..

The Second Sex

By Ashkan Shabani / Iran — Iran is a country where half of its population is deprived of their rights, while being unable to follow..
Join us
For more access