(CNN) -- A soldier and his shadow sit alone on wrinkled sheets. With his knees pressed tightly up against his chest, he wraps his arms around his legs and bows his head.
In another photo, a soldier stands before a mirror. His raised hand covers just enough of his reflection to protect his anonymity.
But it's not photographer Jeff Sheng from whom these men are hiding their identities.
It's the military.
Sheng's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" exhibit, two years in the making, conveys the stories of the gay and bisexual men and women who serve in the U.S. military. And because his subjects are forced to keep their sexual orientations under wraps in order to serve, Shen's photos are portraits without faces.
The Los Angeles, California-based artist said many of his subjects were grateful for the opportunity to make a statement "without fully revealing themselves and losing their jobs."
"If this person got outed, they would lose their pension, their retirement benefits -- their 20 years of service in the military would be gone," he said.
Sheng asked many of those he photographed why they continue to serve despite the inequality.
"I asked, 'Why do you still serve with this policy in place? Why would you do it?' " Sheng said. "And they all looked at me and said, 'Because it's serving the country. It's the most honorable thing that I can think of doing right now in my life.' "