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A Hungarian photographer is standing by his migrant-themed fashion editorial, even though he took the photos off his website due to online outrage. Yahoo Style notes that negative reactions about the so-called "migrant chic" photoshoot on social media included comments like "Disgusting & distasteful campaign" from Syrian freelance photographer Sima Diab. Photographer Simon Bush wrote, "Well now this is utterly sick."
The images show model Monika Jablonczky taking selfies in front of barbed wire. Her phone is in a Chanel case. In another shot, she's shown being dragged away against her will.
According to the BBC, photographer Norbert Baksa included a statement on his website that said that he wanted viewers to see "a suffering woman, who is also beautiful and despite her situation has some high-quality pieces of outfit and a smartphone." He also said that he had tried to "respect people's faith and conviction and not to cross certain boundaries."
Baksa said he didn't intend to glamorize the plight of migrants in Europe. According to USA Today, he wrote on his site: "I usually refuse to deal with political topics, but this situation affects the daily lives of virtually everybody in Hungary." He called his work art, writing: "Artists around the world regularly attract the public's attention to current problems through 'shocking' installations and pictures. This is another example of such art."
After removing the photos from his website, Baksa gave a statement to the BBC: "We have experienced a lot of negative feedback since the publication of our photo series Der Migrant, although more and more people recognise the true message behind the pictures and agree with it." He said, "Considering the heated emotions and because, despite our intentions, many unfortunately consider the pictures offending, we have decided to remove the series from our website." While the photos aren't on his website anymore, his tweets defending the project are still live.
Der Migrant people: realize the complexity of the situation and address it in different angles! Neither pro nor con, raising awareness!— Norbert Baksa (@NorbertBaksa) October 6, 2015
Pictures are reproductions of reports in Hungarian media. Some show refugees fleeing for life, others show aggressive migrants or terrorists— Norbert Baksa (@NorbertBaksa) October 6, 2015
Aim is not 2 offend refugees or anybody else, but 2 show duality in news reports in the media.— Norbert Baksa (@NorbertBaksa) October 6, 2015
Pictures are results of voluntary project to bring the different views together by opening our minds to discover new points of views— Norbert Baksa (@NorbertBaksa) October 7, 2015