When you're told never to judge a picture before you know the story behind it, it's usually for good reason. These unexpected photos are just that.
Rebecca Hayes and David Ward were never able to take newborn photos with their son, Clayton, so they decided to make up for it- 21 years later.
Rebecca and David started dating in high school, when she became pregnant with Clayton during her sophomore year.
The couple ended up parting ways before the birth of their son and went on to marry and have more children with other partners. They did however, reconnect again for the sake of Clayton and remained friends over the years.
In 2013 Rebecca's husband passed away and David helped her get through the difficult time in her life. Soon after David was faced with his own family crisis when his wife was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 and passed away last year.
United by their grief, Rebecca and David supported each other and soon their friendship turned into romance yet again.
But how do you take on a project like this?
The idea to do the photos came from Rebecca one evening on a whim.
“I had the idea one evening when we were all sitting around and laughing at what a weird world ours had become,” she said. “I half joked about it but both David and Clay were surprisingly on board, so I had to jump on it!”
21-year-old Clayton Denes was especially excited. “He is very deadpan and dry and just stared at me and said ‘we have to do this’ we all cracked up while we discussed what ‘poses’ we would do,” she added.
That's when photographer Duffi Crowson stepped in. Duffi has known Rebecca since they were 5 years old.
“I still remember her telling me during history class, and I accused her of lying/joking, and didn’t believe her until she showed me her ultrasound,” Crowson writes.
The photographer had no trouble bringing the family's vision to life.
“That high school romance from 24 years ago rekindled, but has grown into something completely new, completely different. So this… this is scary and wonderful and crazy… but real. It’s life,” Crowson continues.
The family had a great time bonding during the photoshoot.
“The feet shot had us going and then Duffi showed me the tender one of the three of us lying in the grass, and I lost it,” Rebecca recalled. “We could not stop laughing.”
“I really just want people to know that life is weird and horrible and wonderful at times. You never know where it will lead, and you have to embrace what comes your way fully,” said Rebecca. “We went through some rough rough times and just learned to grasp onto those things that are truly important.”