Family photos remain part of divorced couple's tradition

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - When it comes to family photoshoots with the kids, what happens when the parents get divorced?

For Alaskan mom Victoria Baldwin, her ex-husband Adam Dyson and their now four-year-old son Bruce, the family photos are still a thing.

A positive one.

The now nationally viral family photos of the trio began when Baldwin and Dyson were married, and Baldwin was pregnant with Bruce. There was some down time between then and the next shoot: The parents were in the midst of their separation by the time the next big photo opportunity came around.

"I'd booked a shoot for Bruce and I, and I called Adam up and said, 'Hey, do you want to get some pictures with Bruce also?'" Baldwin said. "He said he'd love to do that, and while we were there, I asked if we could get a family photo of all of us in addition to the individual ones."

That was a turning point for Baldwin, who - if not for herself, then her son - had resolved to demonstrate a positive relationship with Dyson. In addition, her own parents went through a painful divorce when she was growing up. She said she doesn't have any photos of herself with both of her parents.

"It was a very conscious decision," Baldwin said. "I kind of gave myself a pep-talk, like, 'Okay, you're going to see Adam. I know you're hurt, I know you're angry, but don't focus on that. Focus on Bruce, and be kind and polite.'"

Slowly, Baldwin said, that all became second-nature.

"For me, these pictures show Bruce that we're not just posing for photos," she said. "We're taking time, working with each other's schedules, being together. There's compromise, there's consideration.

"Regardless of any feelings I have," she said, "I would never want Bruce to go through what I went through as a child."

While the tradition didn't exactly start on purpose, the last shoot, which happened in March, was "booked with intention," according to Baldwin.

"We let our photographer know that we're not together, but we were both going to be there," she said, "so if we could get individuals as well as a group photo, that'd be great."

Baldwin said people have criticized her and her ex for the photo series, saying they're confusing their son by taking photos together. Baldwin disagrees.

"That (negative stuff) is not what I want Bruce to think love is, or what parents are," Baldwin said. "I just want parents to know that if they're facing divorce, facing separation, or if they're already done it, just don't put the co-parent through something you wouldn't want done to you."

The couple plans to keep up with the photo series, which over the years has been shot all over the United States, from Ohio to South Carolina.

"It's so much more than just a picture," Baldwin said.