From Russia Without Love is a series of photographs that make a powerful and moving statement, condemning violence against people who are LGBTQ. These images show many different men and women with injuries created through special effects makeup. The injuries, including large cuts, scrapes, bruises, bloody noses and black eyes, realistically portray the affects of violence, which makes them all the more horrific. The models are mostly wearing plain white or black t-shirts, and the backgrounds are plain and out of focus, drawing attention to their faces. The portraits are accompanied by a typographic artist’s statement that includes an explanation of the project and a list of websites related to the cause.
These images were created in response to the current Russian laws against gay “propaganda” and the physical, verbal, and sexual abuse which is tacitly or openly approved of by government officials in that country. However, anti-LGBTQ violence is not exclusive to Russia, and I believe that this project has the potential to shed light on this serious problem worldwide. As the artists’ statement says: “Acts of violence towards our global LGBT community affects us all. Violence like this can and should not happen. This is not an issue of gay rights but human rights.”
The photography is by Jamo Best, a portrait and fashion photographer from Toronto, Canada. The make up was done by Nicola Butler, Rhonda Morley Causton and Jen Frise.