Photographers Defend Controversial Handmaid's Tale Wedding Photo

Weddings can take on some pretty unconventional shapes in 2019 as every couple is trying to craft a unique experience for their visitors. One wedding shoot caught a lot of heat online for using a The Handmaid’s Tale-inspired theme for their photos. Van Daele & Russell shared the image online and the Internet did its thing from there. Social media was ablaze with people questioning the choice, and it is easy to understand why when you bring the source material into the conversation.

The couple pictured are huge fans of the show which features a dystopian narrative aimed at examining a regressive future where women are held as property of the state. Gillead, the setting of the novel and show, is actually shot partially in Ontario, where the photo that caused all this commotion originated. Both the photographers and the couple agreed that it just made sense to take a photo in front of the “hanging wall.”

When Van Daele Russell suggested adding some Handmaids to the mix, the couple didn’t object. It seems that they knew what kind of stir they were going to cause. But, in the end, they felt starting the conversation was more valuable than any blowback that they might face on the Internet. Despite their best intentions, the backlash was coming whether they feel their expression was warranted or not. In a statement to Decider, the photographers address all the backlash and randomly decide to rope superheroes into the controversy for good measure.

They begin, “Everyone is talking about this issue now, rather than binging on a television series and then not doing ANYTHING about what they’re SO worked up over until the next season comes out in the spring. What’s sad is that the oppression and hatred, the division, fear and breakdown of HUMANITY & COMPASSION is being perpetuated in every one of these comments.”

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“Take a step back and consider you may not actually know the facts, either — that this image was CREATED and put out by a pair of ‘Gender Traitors’ who are no strangers to many of the subplots of oppression, violence, and inequality that run through Margaret’s brilliant work,” they continue. “What’s sad is that everyone is REACTING exactly as expected — just like in Gilead — and missing the opportunity to think for themselves, to educate themselves and become ENGAGED ACTIVISTS instead of simply keyboard warriors.”

“WHY exactly are you offended? Have you asked yourself? And what are you actively doing about it IN THE REAL WORLD? We’re thrilled that this is starting a conversation! THANK YOU for being moved by an issue that deserves much, much more attention. And don’t forget — if this had been a happy couple surrounded by superheroes like Batman and Superman, you wouldn’t have even stopped scrolling to comment. June — along with every fighting Handmaid or human in the midst of struggle and oppression — is the ultimate superhero.”