Mumbai photographer, Raj Shetye, published images of a photo shoot featuring a young well-dressed woman being attacked and sexually assaulted by men in New Delhi public transportation, in hopes of bringing awareness to the criminal events taking place in current day India.
The series of photographs titled “The Wrong Turn” sparked a great number of controversies with its audience who were left horrified by Shetye’s sexualized images. While Shetye’s ultimate goal with the photography was to contribute and “[throw] light” to the discussion on rape, the feedback he got was in disagreement. The feedback received by Shetye was that the photographs could be offensive to actual victims of rape and that the photographs do not do any justice to the events.
The photographs were meant to shed light on the issue of women’s safety and to bring awareness to the fact that rape and sexual violence are frequent occurrences in India. In December 2012, a 23-year-old female student was raped and murdered on a bus in New Delhi, which is not far from what Shetye depicts in his images.
While sources believe that Shetye has failed to properly portray his message, the photographer believes that he has succeeded. “At least the work I did is so impactful that I’m able to shed some light on this. […] That whatever I’ve tried to communicate is being communicated,” Shetye says.
The criticism received by Shetye has forced him to take down the original photographs from his website. He claims however that he is not disappointed by the reaction he got, arguing that at the very least he was able to contribute something to the discussion of rape.