Hungarian Photographer Courts Controversy with Refugee-Themed Shoot

Photographer Norbert Baksa’s ‘Der Migrant’ series is causing a great deal of outrage online after being shared by the photographer on Instagram and Twitter.

The images feature a model dressed in designer clothes and shoes, standing and sitting next to the barbed-wire fence of the Hungary-Croatia border.

Props include a Chanel-branded mobile phone to take selfies, a handbag and a luxurious headscarf blowing in the wind.


/ Norbert Baksa


/ Norbert Baksa


/ Norbert Baksa


/ Norbert Baksa


/ Norbert Baksa


/ Norbert Baksa

Comments on social media have been prompt and scathing.


In response to the criticism, Baksa wrote on his personal website,

“This is exactly what we wanted to picture: you see a suffering woman, who is also beautiful and, despite her situation, has some high quality pieces of outfit and a smartphone.”

“(Many) people find the pictures offending, but we never meant to offend anybody, but rather to draw the attention to the complexity of these people’s problem.”

“The shooting is not intended to glamourise this clearly bad situation…Artists around the world regularly attract the public’s attention to current problems through ‘shocking’ installations and pictures.”


/ Norbert Baksa

“To people who said I am stupid, I can only say they should examine the problem from different angles, all the more that they do not live in Hungary, so they do not experience it first hand. It is very difficult to understand from the news coverage whether these people are indeed refugees or something else.”


/ Norbert Baksa

In a press release, the photographer explained his reasoning behind the the title of the image series and his personal experience of the crisis in Hungary.

“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. 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.”

“My Hungarian background influenced the photos in that I live in Hungary. I see the issue on a daily basis, pro and con,. I met people from both sides and realised how differently they see the issue.”

When a Hungarian camerawoman appeared to attack refugees back in early September, then issued an apology, international attention was cast on the reaction to the refugee crisis in Hungary.

Let us know what you think of photographer Norbert Baksa’s actions in the comments below.

Images used with permission.