Last week, Raj Shetye, a photographer from Mumbai released a photo series called The Wrong Turn. The fashion editorial features a beautiful women on a bus with a group of men. While the basis of the shoot sounds innocent enough, the photos have caused quite a stir on the internet due to its eerie resemblance to the New Delhi gang rape of December 2012.
Shetye was quick to defend himself and has already spoken to individuals at The Huffington Post and Buzzfeed about the fashion editorial. Shetye states that the photos were not meant to reflect ‘Nirbhaya’ – a pseudonym that was given to the victim which means “fearless” in Hindi – but to raise awareness about female safety issues in India. “It’s a self-inspired photo shoot to highlight certain social conflicts a woman in India, rich or poor, faces,” Shetye told The Huffington Post. “The idea was to capture my staunch views about women’s rights through a bold medium that will appeal to people.”
Many people were outraged by Shetye’s photo series and took to social media to criticize his work.
Rape is not inspirational for fashion shoot. I don’t know what was photographer thinking before taking #nirbhaya as theme. Disgraceful.
— Varun Sharma (@varun_sharma07) August 7, 2014
Did i just see a fashion-spread depicting the Delhi gangrape of Nirbhaya? Disgusting!I hope all associated, die of shame! Insensitive swine!
— VISHAL DADLANI (@VishalDadlani) August 5, 2014
Shetye told Buzzfeed that the photo shoot was “in no way meant to glamorize the act, which was very bad,” and that the true message of the shoot is that “it doesn’t matter who the girl is it doesn’t depend on which class class she belonged in – [rape] can happen to anyone.” See Shetye’s alleged response to the controversy below.
This is the official explanation by the photographer of the Nirbhaya shoot (Raj Shetye) as sent to a friend on FB. pic.twitter.com/qJveHT907K
— Suprateek Chatterjee (@SupraMario) August 5, 2014