While in many parts of the world the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender & intersex people are gaining recognition, other parts of the world are increasingly persecuting people for their sexual orientation & gender identity.
Fortunately, in many places, there has been great progress in the movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (“LGBTI”) rights in recent years, including an increasing recognition of same-sex marriage. Nevertheless, nearly 2.8 billion people live in countries where identifying as LGBTI is subject to rampant discrimination, criminalization, and even death. Indeed, same-sex acts are illegal in 75 countries; in five, one can be put to death. Behind these statistics, there are missions of individuals with unique, often harrowing stories.
Where Love Is Illegal was created to tell those stories.
Photographer Robin Hammond visited seven countries to document stories of discrimination and survival from 65 people of 15 different nationalities. Robin collaborated with the subjects to create the portraits, giving them veto rights over the photographs, and each person wrote and recorded their own testimony. For many, it was the first time they had told their story.
Bigotry thrives where people are silent. Therefore, we fight intolerance by telling stories and helping grassroots organizations end discrimination against LGBTI populations. By doing so, we believe we can create a world where love is never illegal.
Robin Hammond is the recipient of the W.Eugene Smith Fund for Humanistic Photography, a World Press Photo prize, the Pictures of the Year International World Understanding Award and four Amnesty International awards for Human Rights journalism.
He has dedicated his career to documenting human rights and development issues around the world through long-term photographic projects.
Robin won the FotoEvidence Book Award for Documenting Social Injustice which resulted in the publication of his long term project on mental health in Africa, Condemned. The same body of work was exhibited at the photojournalism festival Visa Pour l’Image in France, and in New York, Italy, Belgium.
Winning the Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award allowed him to continue his long-term photo project on life in Zimbabwe under the rule of Robert Mugabe. The work culminated in an exhibition in Paris and the publication of his first book ‘Your Wounds Will Be Named Silence’. The work went on to be exhibited at Le Recontres in Arles, France and in Milan, Rome, and Cologne and was featured in National Geographic Magazine.
Robin has made a wide variety of other photographic bodies from the impact of climate change on Pacific Island communities to rape used as a weapon of war in Congo and Bosnia, to the poisoning of ecosystems by multi-nationals in developing countries, to the rise of Africa’s middle class.
Born in New Zealand, Robin has lived in Japan, the United Kingdom, South Africa and France.
Witness Change produces highly visual storytelling that opens minds and changes policies on seldom-addressed human rights abuses.
Witness Change’s reason for being is to better the conditions of the people whose lives we document. To empower decision makers and the public, we document human rights abuses through photography, journalism, and academic research. We collaborate with subject-matter experts, and we assist other organizations by, among other things, developing advocacy tools that educate the public, reduce stigma, and change policies.
The people behind Witness Change come from a wide variety of backgrounds and locales, but they all believe that change is possible.
This is a unique exhibition for the gallery in that it is entirely non-for-profit. All proceeds of any sales will go to Witness Change, the not-for-profit organisation established to amplify the voices of survivors of human rights abuses through personal story telling. Therefore the gallery doesn’t take a commission (we are providing the space and exposure for the exhibition) and all sales cover Robin’s costs to produce the project and support the people in need.