In case you missed it, a fashion shoot by Indian photographer Raj Shetye made headlines for all the wrong reasons. The photo series depicted a model groped in various positions by men on a bus, and was particularly unsettling because of its eerie resemblance to the tragic 2012 gang rape and murder of a 23-year old woman on a bus in Delhi.
The shoot garnered some well-deserved backlash, including some from Bollywood music director Vishal Dadlani, who tweeted about it.
But since then, there’s been some good news in the world of Indian fashion photography. The Delhi-based clothing label Rupa Designs just came out with the photos from a shoot of their own, the models in which are all acid attack survivors.
The 22-year old designer, Rupa, survived an acid attack herself just four years ago. Not able to find work after the incident, she joined the charity Stop Acid Attacks, and started to make clothing and rebuild her confidence. Stop Acid Attacks runs a support group called Chhanv, which is helping Rupa raise enough money to open up her own shop in Delhi.
Rupa and the four other girls in these photos spent years covering their faces with scarves. But here they smile brilliantly, and are the picture of bravery and grace.
More than 1,500 acid attacks occur every year, and organizations like Stop Acid Attacks, Chhanv, and people like Rupa, are making a huge effort to change this. You can too, by raising awareness and donating here to Acid Survivors Trust International.
Images via BBC News India and The Independent.