Gabriele Galimberti: Balenciaga photographer claims to be 'lynched' over bondage-themed campaign

'I was only and solely requested to lit the given scene, and take the shots according to my signature style,' said Gabriele Galimberti after images of children clutching a teddy bear dressed in a BDSM attire sparked outrage

Gabriele Galimberti: Balenciaga photographer claims to be 'lynched' over bondage-themed campaign
Gabriele Galimberti has released a statement on the controversial photos he shot for Balenciaga (Instagram/@gabrielegalimbertiphoto and Balenciaga/website)
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The images of children clutching a teddy bear dressed in a BDSM attire that angered hundreds of people online were taken by Gabriele Galimberti who now claims he has been the target of "lynching" and had no creative control over the project. Luxury brand Balenciaga received backlash for posting obscene images on their website that included children posing with their new range of products. 

Italian photographer Galimberti who has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, The Sunday Times, Stern, Geo, Le Monde, La Repubblica and Marie Claire addressed the topic on Instagram with the following statement. “Following the hundreds of hate mails and messages I received as a result of the photos I took for the Balenciaga campaign, I feel compelled to make this statement. I am not in a position to comment Balenciaga’s choices, but I must stress that I was not entitled in whatsoever manner to neither chose the products, nor the models, nor the combination of the same. As a photographer, I was only and solely requested to lit the given scene, and take the shots according to my signature style. As usual for a commercial shooting, the direction of the campaign and the choice of the objects displayed are not in the hands of the photographer. I suspect that any person prone to pedophilia searches on the web and has unfortunately a too easy access to images completely different than mine, absolutely explicit in their awful content. Lynching like these are addressed against wrong targets, and distract from the real problem, and criminals. Also, I have no connection with the photo where a Supreme Court document appears. That one was taken in another set by other people and and was falsely associated with my photos.”

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Galimberti seems to contend that he was merely holding the camera in care of the lighting. He appears to deal with contentious issues as evidenced by the fact that his project THE AMERIGUNS won the World Press Photo 2021 in the Portrait Stories category. In an apparent allusion to the Disney/Pixar film series, photographer Galimberti touted the pictures as being a part of a project series he named "Toy Stories," according to the Daily Dot.

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After the outrage, the two pictures of small children snuggling with the plush purses that Balenciaga formerly featured on their website have been erased by the fashion brand.
In a statement made on Tuesday, November 22, Balenciaga expressed regret for the picture shoot and seemed to imply that they would sue Galimberti and anyone else who had been part. “We sincerely apologize for any offense our holiday campaign may have caused. Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign. We have immediately removed the campaign from all platforms. We apologize for displaying unsettling documents in our campaign. We take this matter very seriously and are taking legal action against the parties responsible for creating the set and including unapproved items for our Spring 23 campaign photoshoot. We strongly condemn abuse of children in any form. We stand for children safety and well-being.”

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