Hungarian photographer in hot water after refugee-inspired fashion shoot

© Photo by Norbert Baksa; Model: Monika Jablonczky / Visage; Styling Mark Kiss; MUA Emese Balla / The vision makeup school
Hungarian fashion photographer Norbert Baksa has published a photo editorial called ‘Der Migrant’ featuring a model in designer clothes posing as a refugee by a barb-wired fence. Some viewers have called the project “utterly sick” and “wickedly wrong.”

The photo shoot, featuring popular fashion model Monika Jablonczky, looks just like an ordinary page spread from a glossy glamour magazine presenting a new designer collection... apart from the fact that it’s actually shot by a fence symbolizing the Hungarian border with what looks like a man in a police uniform forcefully pulling at the model’s arm in some images. 

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Instead of sending fashion addicts scurrying to boutiques for luxurious headscarves, the images of the girl in full-length dresses with her head covered in designer scarves were immediately branded as “utterly sick.”

READ MORE: Refugee and migrant crisis: Hungary finishes border fence, slams Croatia after train incident 

While the case of fashion-meets-politics left many awestruck – but mostly in a negative way – the photographer defended the project, saying the controversial work was aimed at bringing more attention to the ongoing refugee and migrant crisis.

Although the controversial photos are currently published only on Twitter and Instagram, the photographer has already “received many requests for publishing from various countries,” Baksa added.

“The shooting is not intended to glamourize this clearly bad situation, but rather... to draw the attention to the problem and make people think about it,” Baksa said in a statement published on his website, adding that the team “never meant to offend anybody” and “did our best to respect people’s faith and conviction and not to cross certain boundaries.”

The photographer’s bid to draw attention to the complexity of the issue has, in fact, provoked a number of strong reactions on social media – with people saying something is “wickedly wrong” with a world in which such art exists. 

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The Hungarian photographer went on to say that people outside Hungary cannot fully grasp what the situation is like for those in the country. His work is a “reproduction of reports in Hungarian media,” he said, suggesting that while “some show refugees fleeing for life, others show aggressive migrants or terrorists.”

Hundreds of thousands of refugees have recently entered Hungary on their way to the EU in what has been dubbed the “worst refugee crisis since World War II.” Hungarian authorities built a barbwire border fence to stem the tide of refugees, while the parliament passed a law allowing the military to be deployed to deal with the situation.