OAKLAND, Calif. - A Chicago couple who flew to California's Wine Country to tie the knot, were met with raging wildfires, smoky air and a glowing orange sky that forced them to don air filtration masks for a wedding photo that has now gone viral.
Curtis and Katie Ferland wanted a picture perfect wedding, but they never imagined that photos of their special day would include them wearing white breathing masks.
"This was exactly what was happening that day," said Castro Valley-based photographer Karna M. Roa, who took the now-famous photo of the couple wearing masks and standing in a vineyard holding hands.
Roa was inspired by Grant Wood's iconic 1930 painting "American Gothic" that depicts a straight-faced farmer holding a pitchfork, standing next to his daughter in rural Iowa. Roa said she had the wedding couple look straight ahead out across the vineyard. The bride held a bouquet of flowers. The groom stood straight in his gray suit. There were no smiles to be seen. Only the couple's eyes peered out over their air-filtration masks.
The picture symbolized the state of California during wildfire season, and news outlets all over the world clamored to hear the backstory and run the photograph.
"I did not know at the time that it would take on the life that it has," said Roa.
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The image was captured Saturday at the Chateau St. Jean Winery in Kenwood, about 20 miles south of where the Kincade Fire started in Geyersville, a tiny community known for wineries and vineyards.
Th wedding was planned for outdoors, but had to be moved inside because of the smoke
"I knew we only had a limited time to be outdoors," Roa said, adding that she relied on her experience shooting wedding images during previous wildfire seasons.
"During the Tubbs Fire, three weddings had to be relocated at the last minute,'' she said.