Hungarian Photographer Slammed for 'Migrant Chic' Fashion Shoot

Refugee fashion shoot
Norbert Baksa 2015

A Hungarian photographer has defended his controversial fashion shoot that used Europe's refugee crisis as inspiration.

Norbert Baksa, a photographer who has in the past worked for Elle, Playboy and Cosmopolitan, posted 13 images on his website depicting glamorous women wearing headscarves and ripped clothing, surrounded by barbed wire and struggling against police officers, under the title '"Der Migrant."

One particularly controversial image depicted a model taking a selfie of herself using a phone emblazoned with the Chanel logo, with her shirt half open.

Refugee fashion shoot
Norbert Baksa 2015

Critics were quick to accuse Baksa of glamorizing the plight of asylum seekers attempting to flee conflict and instability in their home countries.

Art gone berserk. Some dude has actually done a fashion photoshoot on the theme of migrants. http://t.co/yocFHjaSdD pic.twitter.com/Sp28RnAh7l

— Nigel Britto (@NigelBritto) October 6, 2015

Apparently this migrant and refugee inspired photoshoot is 'raising awareness' about the totally chic crisis. pic.twitter.com/ekHd5tcDsW

— Charlotte Meredith (@chmeredith) October 6, 2015

Many Twitter users pointed out that the scantily clad women were particularly offensive taking into account the religions and cultural backgrounds of many of those fleeing to Europe.

At least 350,000 migrants crossed the EU's borders from January to August 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration, a figure that does not take into account those who cross undetected by authorities. Hungary has reacted particularly strongly to the crisis, deploying water cannons and tear gas against the migrants and refugees arriving at its borders, and erecting a razor-wire fence along its entire 108 mile shared-border with Serbia.

Baksa defended his images, writing on his website, "I do not understand how people can take a clear stand (pro or con) while we are flooded with contradictory information through the media, so no one has extensive knowledge of the situation as a whole.

"The shoot is not intended to glamorize this clearly bad situation, but rather, as said above, to draw the attention to the problem and make people think about it," he continued. "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."

Baksa also said that during the photo shoot, his team did their best to respect people's faith and conviction and "not to cross certain boundaries."