From the Archive: A Helping Hand, New Zealand

A helping hand goes a long way, when you have little legs. © www.thomaspickard.com

A helping hand goes a long way, when you have little legs. © www.thomaspickard.com

When I first fell in love with photography, all I wanted to do was travel the world, take photos and get them published in magazines. I never thought I would tire of that lifestyle, but I did.

I remember sitting on a Sri Lankan Airlines flight and just opposite were two female traveller’s. Together they were flicking through the inflight magazine, of which I was a masthead contributor for 4-years. When they got to my multi-page photo feature on the Maldives, they mocked the photos by this photography guy called ‘Thomas Pickard’.

Little did they know, I was sitting so close and within earshot. It was a humble reminder of how irrelevant travel photography can be to people. It was also the first time I started to seriously think about what I was photographing (largely travel resort pieces for magazines) and what that type of work really meant to me.

And then one day I became a parent.

Everything changed with the birth of our daughter. I put all of my photography work on hold except for stock photography and wedding photography. As a photographer, I watched day-by-day as my kids grew and grew and grew. It was remarkable to see how quickly they grew and changed in the first couple of years’ of their life.

As I continued to take photos of them growing up, I came to realise that these photographic moments were some of the most important photographs I would ever take. They have meaning to me and my wife and ultimately, our family. I share them via private galleries with family and friends abroad. I have already taken the necessary steps to ensure that one day, when the kids are older, they will be handed over to them in an archival digital format along with some books I have created.

Family photos help me remember small slithers of time, like in this photo. Our boy had just turned two and was doing his first overnight walk to a hut. Just looking at this photo now (some 18-months later), I marvel at how little his legs were. I remember him walking nearly all 6-kilometres to the hut, only needing a carry for the last bit. I remember all these things because this photo is a catalyst for my memory of that trip.

That makes this photo very precious to me.