Freedom2014: What freedom looks like to you

  • 1 April 2014
  • From the section Magazine

What does freedom look like to the world? As part of the BBC's freedom2014 season, we asked you that very question.

We had more than 1,000 responses and here we showcase just a small selection of the images sent in.

You showed us that you saw freedom everywhere, with common themes including prison, animals, immigration, love and movement.

A couple sits on a step in front of a shop
A young couple inspired Lukas Koutny, 20, in Barcelona, Spain. "The moment she stroked his face was when I took this picture. One person's freedom ends where another person's freedom begins".
A white horse gallops against a leafy green background
This image of a horse galloping on a mountain near Lecco in Italy was sent in by Cecilia Fatone, aged 20. "Everyone has a different understanding of freedom, for someone it will be climbing a mountain, for others it will be the sensation of floating in the water, still others will need extreme sensation like base jumping."
A man stands with his hands in his pockets, looking at a wall covered in graffiti
Danielle, 20, took this photograph in Indianapolis. She says: "This picture is a glimpse of freedom. The man in the image is not truly free in the US. He was brought here as a child, illegally, and has worked his hardest to make an honest living here."
Five women in veils in a building in Pakistan
Medical student Rizmi Tahir, aged 20, took this image in Shifa Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan. She says although she loves her job, her days are busy. "The happiest time of the day is when we finally get to leave for home to rest and relax."
A girl stands barefoot in a field with a German shepherd dog. In the distance a flock of birds flies in formation.
Freedom is "mutual respect between humans and animals", says Karina Boissonnier. "It is being able to look at the world with hope and accept love from anyone or give love to anyone without fear," adds the French 19-year-old.
A man stands under a light in a tree-filled garden. A photographic trick creates an impression that the scene is being viewed underwater
Inzmam Javed used a timer to capture this image of himself standing in his garden in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. "As the world develops, my country, Pakistan, chooses to take a step backwards," he says. "Freedom to me is a way to live."
A broken egg with pencil marks inside
"Once the chick managed to escape its shell, it left it behind to then move on with its life," says Kyle Keogan, 23, of his photograph, taken in the UK.
Woman stares out at view of mountain and houses beneath
Student Jhana Tshong, 22, says: "Coming home to the Paro Valley in Bhutan, I feel most free. It is my land, my identity, my freedom."
A model of an old-fashioned sailing vessel with full sails and a US flag, is pictured on a bridge in a rural setting.
For Sadie Cornette Cook, 16, from North Carolina in the US, freedom is being able to do the impossible. "If a toy ship can sail across a bridge, then any of us can do anything. And that is freedom."
Christine Rowland's mother, Lorraine, walking on a beach
Christine Rowlands, from Fremantle, Australia, sent in this photograph of her mother, Lorraine, who died of a rare degenerative disease in 2013. Christine says: "This woman who had been a devoted reader, quilter, hiker, traveller and, above all, learner, had every conceivable freedom stolen by an unfathomable disease about which we comprehend so little."
A man plays with a baby, throwing him in the air
Muhammad Farooq Aziz, 28 took this image in Islamabad, Pakistan. He says: "This baby symbolised freedom when he was in the air without any fear, just trust in the support of his father's hands".
A man smiles under graffiti saying 'Are you happy?'
Sonti Ramirez, 23, sent in this image taken in Warsaw, Poland. "This graffiti on a street wall perfectly summed up the post-Communist, liberated Warsovian outlook on life."
The view through a small hatch in a prison door
Andre R Herzer, 24, says of this picture taken at the Penitenciaria Modulada Agente Jair Fiorin, in Brazil: "It is through this little space that prisoners can see their freedom."
A drawing of a boy with a long chain around his ankle
Edgar Lushaju, aged 24, from Tanzania, illustrated this picture. "Freedom is a sense of mind," he says, "but is it freedom or is it just a very long chain that only allows us to get so far?"
A man wrapped in a blanket and sitting on the floor
Syed Arslan Bukhari took this photograph of a man in Bahawalpur in Pakistan. "He was free of the worries to achieve more and content with what he had with him," says the 25-year-old.
A man on a tightrope
"You have to set your mind free and be in peace with yourself in order to face the line without fear," says David Sevi, 27, from Italy. "You can feel completely free. It seems almost like flying."
A girl sleeps on a street
Naresh Guduru, 26, took this picture in Telangana, India. "Because of poverty, she might not be doing what she wants to do. Freedom means you can do everything you want, but we are all people."
A man and girl jump
"I was down-hearted. I got home and saw my nieces happily playing the game 'ampe' with no worry," says 27-year-old Nii Odoom Anokwafo Annoh, from Accra, Ghana.
An ape in a cage
Van Mills, 29, took this photo at the Nairobi Animal Orphanage, in Kenya. "I've never been locked up like the fellow, and I can pretty much go wherever I please, and yet I have to work from Monday to Friday," he says.
An orangutan holds a human hand
Joshua Hart, 25, was in Indonesia, when he took this image of an orangutan reaching out to hold a human hand. It had been poorly treated by humans before, so Joshua was amazed by the action. The picture represents "the freedom to live free of fear", he says.
A cemetery
"Most of us are slaves to the fear of death," says Ashla Thomas, aged 30. She took this image in High Wycombe in the UK.
A bird resting on barbed wire
Tim Coles, 30, took this picture at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. "The bird is free. The prisoners weren't," he says.
A man dressed in Lolita-style in a wig and bows
"This guy is an anime fan who walked with pride in his Lolita attire," says Richard Haw of this picture taken in the Harajuku district in Tokyo, Japan. "He never cared about what other people thought about him."
A man looks across a lake
Ruth Calvo Tello, 31, sent in this mage from Yangon, Burma. "The future is bright for Burma. Freedom is around the corner," she says.
A man diving into the sea
Rogers Javan Inzaukhi, 37, took this picture of his friend at Wasini island, Kenya. He says: "The guy in the picture is a friend of mine called Gaston. Freedom to me in that picture means flying high like a bird."
A camper van
Melanie Nairn, 39, from Scotland, says travelling gives her a sense of freedom. "My campervan allows me to experience many places on my own terms and often on my own - I enjoy the peace and tranquillity."
Ihas Idriess with his son
For 39-year-old Ihas Idriess, from Nigeria, freedom is a hug from his son Abdulrahman. "It's freedom from the worries of the day," he says.
A prison in Poland
"I was free but inside this building were prisoners who dreamed about freedom", says 41-year-old Arkadiusz Zyla, who took this picture at the Swinoujscie island Uznam, in Poland.
A woman floats in water
Taken on the Ile aux Cerfs in Mauritius, Malgorzata Dabrowa-Sousa says this image represents freedom from everyday worries. "You just float, you are free, the water carries you and it is too shallow to drown," she says.
Murray Siple on a road in Bangkok
"I wanted to celebrate that I was able to be independent in a very busy city that really is not very accessible to wheelchair users," says Murray Siple, a Canadian who travelled to Bangkok.
A woman stands with her child
Maria Khomik, 33, from Kiev, Ukraine, says: "This is a place for me and my children and will always be the cradle of the new Ukrainian freedom and independence."
Robert Bramley-Buhler with his family
"This is freedom to me, the fact that I can be with the man I love and our grandchildren and no-one can stop us. I refuse to go to countries that do not allow me to tell people that Alan is my life partner," says Robert Bramley-Buhler, pictured outside the Olympic stadium in London, UK.
A tiger in a cage
Sam Cefai, 34, took this photograph in Malta. "When I saw the tiger being brought to its knees with the crack of a whip, I felt as if the tiger's expression displayed that it had abandoned any hope for freedom - like it had let go of any will to roam free."
Three dogs run along a beach
Dogs running along Barafundle Bay in Pembrokeshire. Freedom is only momentary, says 36-year-old Ela Fraczkowska. "Because of our responsibilities - illness, financial burdens - we only get short moments of freedom, like this one."
A painting featuring Nelson Mandela
Artist Jack Mulele, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, but now living in Belgium, says his work is his "support". He says he is independent and not reliant on "big banks" to pursue his passion. "Living without freedom means there's no life," he says.
A man screens himself behind a flag at Camp Bastion
Mark de Rond, 45, took this photograph at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. He says: "The photo captures an intensely private moment in the bloodiest hospital within a cruel, war-torn part of the world. The photo illustrates one attempt to get away from the misery and lack of privacy, even if only temporarily."
Boys in military uniforms marching
Mark Knight, 48, was in Pyongyang, North Korea, when he took this photograph. "The majority of the people I saw toed the line though and kept walking straight, ignoring me, but the thought that there were people curious about freedom and wanted to turn their heads I found fascinating," he says.
Couples dancing in a town square
"Freedom [is] to be able to dance, with joy, with loved ones, during the day," says 50-year-old Sandra Robinson, who took this photograph in Tuscany, Italy.
A man helps a younger boy cross a lake
"Freedom - is a Masai paddling in the hot springs at Lake Magadi, Kenya, with a young lad (not Masai) in tow. He's showing him the safest places to stand, so he doesn't fall over," says teacher Liz Boakes of her photograph.
A packet of tablets
Nicola Morley from the UK sent in this picture of a packet of tablets. "With them I am a happy functioning human being, without them, life easily gets out-of-hand," she says.
Penguins in a cage
Scientist Tom Frozart, who lives in Paris, took this picture in Antarctica. Showing the opposite of freedom, the birds were caged a few hundred metres from their colony.
Black and white photo of a man standing on a horse and cart
Robert Lashley sent in this photo of his father muck spreading in Holmpton, Yorkshire, UK. He says it shows a freedom of a "simple, slower lifestyle" for World War Two veterans. "My father always said the 1950s were the happiest days of his life," he says.
Brian Smith in his Spitfire simulator
Brian Smith, 75, says his picture celebrates the freedom given to him by the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain. "In a tribute to them, I created this Spitfire simulator to show people how it felt to fly a Spitfire. The people that come and fly it feel the freedom of the skies," he says.
The view from a window
Gabriel Burns, 25, took this image in Viterbo in Lazio, Italy. "I was thinking about the contrast of the beauty of nature against the hideousness of a cellar. For me, it represents the freedom of imagination, of speech and thinking - no cage will restrain the human mind - you are always free, you just have to realise it first."
A naked man hiking
"The increasingly prudish society is causing much harm to children and young adults who are being taught that there is something shameful about the human body," says 63-year-old Brian Johnson, pictured hiking in the Scottish Highlands.
A figure in chains next to the words 'For freedom's sake'.
Eugene Eggers, from the US, created this image of freedom. "As for all humans, freedom is the sunlit (signifying enlightenment) liberation from the constrictive bondage chains of social injustice that are slavery, tyranny, oppression, and prejudice," he says.

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