A Canadian couple is making waves online thanks to their dystopian themed wedding photos.
Photographers Shawn Van Daele and Clint Russell obliged a Cambridge, Ont. couple in their request to incorporate the hit book-turned-television series “The Handmaids Tale” into their wedding photography.
The pair shared a photo to their Van Daele & Russell Facebook page to celebrate the nuptials of clients Kendra and Torsten, which featured a picture of the bride and groom sharing a kiss between robed handmaids against the series’ “hanging wall.”
“Praise be! Kendra and Torsten are married!” the caption read. “If there’s any ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ fans out there, you’ll know most of it is filmed in Cambridge! So, as fans of the show, it only seemed fitting for there to be some Handmaids in K&T’s wedding photos along the ‘hanging wall’ in Mill Race Park!”
The photo quickly caught the internet’s attention with many fans of the show, based on Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s book of the same name, questioning the couple’s decision to pay homage to a show based on the premise of women being viewed as property and raped to repopulate a dwindling republic.
“They’re obviously not fans of the show if they thought this was a good idea,” one woman wrote on Facebook.
“How did anyone involved in this, including the photographers, think this was a good idea?” another echoed. “Like, do y’all even know what the book and show was about? What is wrong with you?”
Others weighed in that the photo romanticized the show and its themes.
“The tone deafness of referencing a show where women are literal property in wedding photos is pretty damn bad,” one commenter wrote. “The tone deafness of taking photos of a heterosexual wedding in front of the wall that in the show is where they leave people who commit ‘crimes’ such as homosexuality to hang on display as a warning to others is astounding.”
Van Daele & Russell issued a lengthy statement to their followers and those who were confused and disappointed by the photos. The photographers addressed the outrage as an opportunity for fans of “The Handmaids Tale” to become “engaged activists” instead of “keyboard warriors.”
“So you’re correct – it’s gross, disgusting, and a horrible reality that is rampantly becoming more ‘real’ in the world day by day – and comment by comment,” the statement said of the backlash. “There’s no more ‘us’ – only division and hatred, and no more curiosity to learn, to help, to actively become engaged in correcting humanity's breakdown instead of instantly ATTACKING [sic].”
“If this had been a happy couple surrounded by superheroes like Batman and Superman,” they wrote to conclude the post. “June [the main character] – along with every fighting Handmaid or human in the midst of struggle and oppression – is the ultimate superhero.”