A Handmaid’s Tale-themed wedding photo snapped by two Canadian photographers is being widely criticized as it's been taken where the scenes of the show have been filmed in Cambridge, Canada. The controversial picture features a newly-wedded couple kissing with red and white-clad hooded handmaids in front of a wall that the show’s fictional Gilead leaders use to hang dead bodies of dissenters. Shawn Van Daele, of Van Daele & Russell Photography, said to Canadian media that he photoshopped in the handmaids, clad in their iconic red dresses and white bonnets. By now thousands of netizens have commented on and shared the image with question marks, jokes, and concerns.
Soon after the controversy, the photographers had to remove the picture. Even the couple were being harassed which raised more concerns. Van Dale called people's act of dragging them in the dispute to be shameful. Yet at the same time, he added that the response to the photo is exactly what he'd hoped for. In both the book and the series, the handmaids are forced to bear the children of men whose wives are infertile, and being gay is illegal. This made the Netizens feel that the photo had a dark theme. Yet Van Daele said that he and his husband, Clint Russell, had only good intentions.
Van Daele said that the image and entire show touches on the oppression faced by the gay community, women, and many other minority groups. He added that its deeply personal, and a shame people are attacking without first learning.
The photographers clarified that the wedding was not based on Handmaid's Tale theme. It was only the shoot and the particular picture which featured the series. Both the photographers and the bride and groom are huge fans of the show, and they were shooting on-site at Cambridge Mill, so it seemed fitting. The series had had a huge impact in various incidents from protesters wearing the costume as a symbol of women’s oppression, to outrage over a sexy handmaid Halloween costume. The owner of the studio said that while he’s upset by the criticism, he’s happy that people are just as inspired and invigorated by The Handmaid’s Tale as he is.