Powerful campaign highlights forbidden love across the globe.

A New Zealand photojournalist who has just completed a powerful campaign about forbidden love and suppressed identity has been honoured for his work.

Wellington-born Robin Hammond was named on Foreign Policy's Top 100 Global Thinkers list for his project, Where Love Is Illegal.

Khalid left Iraq because no one accepted him as a homosexual. He has applied for refugee status in Lebanon. Photo / Robin Hammond
Khalid left Iraq because no one accepted him as a homosexual. He has applied for refugee status in Lebanon. Photo / Robin Hammond

The subjects have one thing in common - they've been banned from being who they are, from loving who they want to. "I'm just one guy. The impact I can have as an individual is limited," Hammond told the Herald. "So I decided I wanted to make Where Love Is Illegal a platform for other people to share their own stories of discrimination and survival."

The documentary campaign spanned several continents to highlight the plight of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

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Hammond, the only Kiwi on the list, said he was first surprised, then delighted to be included next to influential scientists, inventors, and political leaders. "It's a wonderful recognition ... there's been a lot of work done on LGBTI rights but this is probably the first time there's been a big effort to put a human face to what sometimes can be quite an almost abstract issue."

D & O, a lesbian couple in Russia, were attacked in the street because they were holding hands. Photo / Robin Hammond
D & O, a lesbian couple in Russia, were attacked in the street because they were holding hands. Photo / Robin Hammond

Hammond received a grant from Getty Images and funding from a philanthropist, who also donated some airpoints, but much of the campaign was self-funded.

He went to Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Cameroon, Russia, Malaysia and Lebanon for the campaign. One of his photos from the campaign featured on the cover of Time magazine in June.

Born in New Zealand in 1975, Hammond moved to Britain in 2002 and worked as a freelance photographer.

Tiwonge Chimbalanga married his partner in the first gay marriage in Malawi. They were sentenced to 14 years' jail. Photo / Robin Hammond
Tiwonge Chimbalanga married his partner in the first gay marriage in Malawi. They were sentenced to 14 years' jail. Photo / Robin Hammond

He has since become best known for his investigative work on human rights and environmental issues, often having to work undercover or in conditions of extreme hardship.

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