Refugee chic? Hungarian photographer removes racy fashion series based on crisis

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Hungarian photographer Norbert Baska has taken down his online fashion series "Der Migrant" in which semi-clothed models pose as desperate refugees, partially baring their breasts in front of barbed wire fences in immigration camp set-ups. 

Baska was slammed on social media, but claims said the shoot was not meant to glamorize the desperate situation in his home country as refugees stream over the Hungarian border by the tens of thousands.

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“The aim of the photo shoot was precisely to make people examine the situation from different angles and judge from different points of view," Baska explained in an e-mail to FOX411. "Considering the heated emotions and because, despite our intentions, many unfortunately consider the pictures offensive, we have decided to remove the series from our website.”

While Baska has been called out by critics for exploiting a tragic situation, some fashion industry insiders said the series started a much needed dialogue about what is happening on the Hungarian border.

“Fashion photography is best when it pushes the envelope and obviously Baska pushed it as far as he could with bare breasted models taking selfies by barbed wire fences," said Peter Davis, Editor-at-Large at Daily Front Row magazine. "Is it offensive and vulgar? Yes. Did it get people talking? Yes. And that is a good thing.”

While Baska expected mixed reactions from the series, he said he was hopeful that his images would create global attention on what is occurring in his country.

“Regarding the reactions, I hoped people would realize that the situation is very complex and see that they are taking stands based on partial or biased information," he said. "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.”

Even the title of the series, “Der Migrant” was calculated, he said.

“We chose the title to be in German for several reasons. First and foremost, Germany is the leading power of the European Union and most migrants wish to live in Germany," he said. "Choosing the masculine form while picturing a woman also points out the fact that the issue of migrants can be and is viewed in different manners, some will see refugee families with small children fleeing for their lives, while others only see masses of riotous migrants or even terrorists attacking police and representing a threat on our societies.”

Dr. Montana Miller of the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University whether its tasteless or not is in the eye of the beholder.

“The idea that models would pose as refugees certainly seems totally inappropriate in any human rights activism campaign," Miller said. "However, if this is an art series by a photographer who is not attempting to present himself as a social activist, we can criticize his deplorable taste, but we ultimately have to accept that much of what is out there in the world of art may offend our sensibilities.” 







Fox Reporter and FOX411 host Diana Falzone covers celebrity news and interviews some of today's top celebrities and newsmakers.  You can follow her on Twitter @dianafalzone.