Fashion photos that recreated fatal 2012 Delhi gang rape sparks outrage

Published: August 5, 2014

The Wrong Turn photo series depicts a fashionably dressed woman fending off men’s advances on a bus.

Mymbai fashion shoot Wrong Turn

Mumbai photographer Raj Shetye’s fashion shoot that has a reference to the gruesome Delhi gang-rape incident has sparked outrage on social media. (This photo from model-actor Jitin Gulati’s profile on Behance has now been removed.)


A Mumbai-based photographer has removed photos of a recent fashion shoot after outrage was expressed online over the series’ similarities to Delhi’s Dec. 16 2012 fatal gang rape.

According to Buzzfeed, Raj Shetye released his photo series The Wrong Turn last week, which depicts an extravagantly dressed Indian woman who appears to be fending off the advances of several men while aboard a bus.

While Shetye initially seemed to defend his work to Buzzfeed, claiming the shoot was not based on the Delhi gang rape, in which a 23-year-old woman – now referred to as ‘Nirbhaya’ – was brutally gang raped and beaten with an iron rod on a moving bus, social media users took to Twitter to express their outrage.

On Tuesday Amrita Puri tweeted: “Rape is not inspiration for a fashion shoot. I don’t know what the photographer was thinking doing an editorial shoot inspired by ‘Nirbhaya.”’

”Nirbhaya rape inspired fashion shoot?! What?! A new low in intellect levels. Find the moron (and) slap him,” another posted.

As of Tuesday, the photo series seems to have been removed from Shetye’s website and various online accounts and one of the models, Jitin Gulati, apologized via Twitter.

“This test shoot was done by Mr. Raj Shetge and the brief and intention was not even remotely to glorify an intolerable act like ‘rape,’” Gulati posted. “I have removed these pictures from all public platform and the photographer has done the same. I sincerely apologize (sic) if this has hurt anyone’s sentiments.”

However, in the initial BuzzFeed interview, Shetye denied attempting to depict the scene of Nirbhaya’s death.

“It is not based on Nirbhaya,” he told BuzzFeed. “But being a part of society and being a photographer, that topic moves me from inside.”

“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.”

Shetye insisted that his series was in “no way meant to glamorize the act, which was very bad.”

“It’s just a way of throwing light on it,” he told BuzzFeed.

According to BuzzFeed, he claims to have come up with the idea two years ago, but it took him months to create because he “didn’t want to create something irresponsible.”

“The concept is my baby … and the aim is to create art that will gather some reaction in society,” he said. “The message I would like to give is that it doesn’t matter who the girl is …It doesn’t depend on which class she belonged in — it can happen to anyone.”

He also admit that after posting the work he got a lot of reaction on social media.

“It makes me feel satisfied about my work — at least the work I did is so impactful that I’m able to shed some light on this,” he told BuzzFeed. “I don’t feel happy, but it makes me feel satisfied. That whatever I’ve tried to communicate is being communicated.”

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