Photographer Tatiana Vinogradova recently took portraits of gay men in Russia. Pictured here is Anatoly, a 23-year-old from St. Petersburg, in May 2014. The somber mood in the series is reflective of a country that has largely shunned them.
"The meaning of life is to live your own life. Not someone else's, not illusory, but full," said Dmitry, 42. "To breathe with two lungs instead of one."
"My mother's reaction was: 'It is a teenage thing, you'll grow out of it. You simply haven't met the right girl yet.' The most ridiculous thing is I was already 26," said Pavel, 44.
Pictured here in Jenya, 25. Vinogradova reached out to LGBT organizations and social networking sites looking for subjects. Many of the responses were rejections, claiming that they saw the importance of her project but weren't ready to come out through a photograph.
"When it came to kissing a girl, I started laughing," said Oleg, 27.
"When I was 6 years old, I told my mother that I wanted to pierce my ear. She asked again if I really wanted to do it and then did it," said Lesha, 20. "The next day for the first time I heard people calling me a "f-----."
"When you say to heterosexuals, 'You are not my sort of guy,' they are surprised," said Artur, 27.
"I'm trying to prepare myself for loneliness," said Dima, 28. "I don't cherish any illusions about surrogate mothers and mythical children that gays can adopt. I picture a scenario where there is no one to bury me."
Maxim, 28. "In Russia, only 1% of the gay population dares to live openly," said photographer Tatiana Vinogradova. "That is why the general mood in my work is dark and melancholic. The visual concept mirrors the idea that being gay in Russia is not a rainbow-colored life. In our country, rainbows have some very somber shades."
These photos were captured over a two-year span, full of men -- like Sasha, 22 -- who were tired of hiding their true selves.
"Love is like you have a compass inside which points to the north. And the north is this person," said Sergey, 20.
"I can judge girls aesthetically, well, kind of like pictures in a museum," said Maxim, 21.
Misha, 27. "I chose to take poetic, intimate portraits depicting an internal beauty of the characters," Vinogradova said. "And I want people to take just a few minutes to recognize each other's beauty instead of attacking each other for their differences."
"My grandfather was a very clever and acute person," said Sasha, 26. "I think I was about 9 or 10 years old, I don't remember, but once he asked me directly, 'Are you gay?' I answered like, 'What's a gay?' "