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Indian fashion photographer Raj Shetye has come under fire for a photoshoot that invokes a woman getting gang raped on a bus.

According to BuzzFeed, Shetye released the editorial project “The Wrong Turn” to sharing site Behance. The shoot features a woman alone on a bus and trying to escape from several men. Shetye says he was inspired to do the project to shed light on rape, but others are blasting the photographer for the spread’s glamorization and correlation to the brutal 2012 New Delhi gang rape that also occurred on a bus.

He denied attempting to depict the exact scene of that incident — referred to as “Nirbhaya,” which is a Hindi word for “fearless” and a pseudonym given to the victim — although the similarities are difficult not to notice.

“But being a part of society and being a photographer, that topic moves me from inside,” he continued. “I stay in a society where my mother, my girlfriend, my sister are out there and something like this can happen to them also.”

When asked why he chose to depict this scene through a fashion photo shoot, Shetye responded that it is the only way he knew how.

“Being a photographer, the only medium I can communicate in is photos. For me, it’s as simple as that. It’s art. Making movies, writing articles, making a poem — these are all ways of addressing the topic. Being a fashion photographer, this is what I can do best.”

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Shetye says designers weren’t credited in the shoot because the point was to prove that rape can happen to anyone.

“We stay in a society where rich people roam in cars, and poor people who roam in public transport are in danger,” he continued. “It was my intent to mix these two things which are pretty apart from each other and make aesthetically strong images about it.”

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As more backlash grew, Shetye’s defense was seen null and void when it was discovered that one of the spread’s male models posted the photoshoot with the tags, “sexy,” “love,” “greed,” “kidnap,” and more.

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Model Jitlin Gulati took down the photos, as has Shetye. Gulati tweeted his views on the matter:

Two years after the New Delhi rape case that sparked protests to amend India’s lax laws for women’s rights, the country is still dealing with brutal crime and politicians who turn a blind eye. When will we learn that rape and fashion just should not go together – ever.

SOURCE: Buzzfeed | PHOTO CREDIT:  Raj Shete

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