Fashion photography is, generally, an escapist exercise. We’re meant to look at the decadent atmosphere, the sumptuous clothing and think, ah, someday! It’s aspirational, and we accept that fashion-as-fantasy is a beautiful thing. But not everyone gets how to strike a fine balance. That’s partly why we’re very confused by Norbert Baksa‘s “Der Migrant” photo series, which takes an, er, fashionable approach to being a refugee.
The shoot features model Monika Jablonczky against a backdrop meant to simulate the Hungarian border. The border itself was erected by Hungary as a response to what the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) referred to as “Europe’s refugee crisis.” So, it’s a sexy fashion shoot about refugees at a border erected to diffuse a European refugee crisis. Well, that’s gonna make people angry. And it did! Check out the shoot and see how it differs from a real-life refugee camp experience:
Can we not turn refugee chic into a thing? Thanks
Spot the DifferenceDespite what the fashion image shows, women don't just casually play with barbed wire in refugee camps.
Fact: There is currently an estimated one million child refugees in Syrian camps. So, there probably isn't a lot of "me time" to dole out. Norbert Baksa/Getty Images
Spot the DifferenceThis fashion photo suggests refugee women have access to dry cleaning or a place to nicely hang their expensive designer clothes. They do not.
Fact: Armed police officers control the daily routine of any given camp. This does not include pressing beautiful clothes.Norbert Baksa/Getty Images
Spot the DifferenceThis fashion photo suggests this fictionalized refugee has a lot of costume changes in some steam trunk that would not at all exist in a camp.
Fact:Women are scared. In German refugee camps, women can't sleep because they're afraid they'll be vulnerable to gender-based violence.Norbert Baksa/Getty Images
Spot the DifferenceThis fashion photo suggests there's time to snap a new Tinder profile picture next to a barbed wire backdrop. Edgy!
Fact: Cell phones are not a luxury, they're a necessity. Having access to information keeps you informed, which is important for survival.Norbert Baksa/Getty Images
Spot the Difference"But first, let me take a bwelfie (barbed wire selfie)"
Fact: When fleeing war-torn areas, families get split up. It isn't unusual for a family to be scattered across many camps. Phones and access to a cell tower (which some camps have) are essential and helpful if you need to find your husband, father, sister, mother or friend.Norbert Baksa/Getty Images
Spot the DifferenceSeriously, how many outfits are we supposed to believe this fashionable refugee brought with her? Like, is there a grunge-era resurgence happening in this fashion refugee camp?
Fact: Refugees are generally more concerned about their health than their fun outfits. The most common fatal ailments include measles, diarrhea, respiratory infections, malaria and malnutrition.Norbert Baksa/Getty Images