Stylized “Gang Rape” Fashion Shoot Sparks Outrage in India

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 6 2014 8:39 PM

Stylized “Gang Rape” Fashion Shoot Sparks Outrage in India

fashionindia3
A photo from the "The Wrong Turn" collection.

Raj Shetye/via Behance

Some things just aren’t glamorous, no matter the lighting. Some things are just unspeakably horrible. Gang rape is one of those things. So when Mumbai fashion photographer Raj Shetye posted a series of photos from a fashion shoot that evoked a brutal 2012 gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a bus in New Delhi, the reaction was exactly what you’d expect—outrage. The series of photos called “The Wrong Turn,” shot on a bus, depicts a woman being harassed and assaulted—with gauzy lighting and designer clothes.

Shetye said the pictures were not based on the 2012 event that shocked and galvanized India, and gave a very Zoolander-esque explanation to BuzzFeed of what exactly he was thinking.

“This is in no way meant to glamorize the act, which was very bad,” Shetye told BuzzFeed. “It’s just a way of throwing light on it.” Shetye added that the idea for the shoot struck him two years ago, but it took several months to execute because he “didn’t want to create something irresponsible.” He also clarified that while the garments worn by the models are all made by top designers, none of them have been credited publicly because the intent of this shoot is not commercial gain. “The concept is my baby,” he said, “and the aim is to create art that will gather some reaction in society.” “The message I would like to give is that it doesn’t matter who the girl is,” he said. “It doesn’t depend on which class she belonged in — it can happen to anyone.”

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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