Niki Boon, a photographer from New Zealand, is trying to go back to a time when people were less reliant on gadgets and wifi. Technology is consciously restrained in Boon’s countryside home where they are more in touch with nature. Her four children are home-schooled, and use technical gadgets only for educational purposes. Less time in front of screens means more time for them to live in nature and enjoy their childhood authentically.
Boon’s “fascination with photography” began in a darkroom in Scotland, while developing prints. When she returned to New Zealand, the passion took a backseat but motherhood gave her renewed enthusiasm. Boon took up photography more seriously with the intention of educating her children in an alternative way.
Boon brings authenticity in her photographs with the lack of colors. These black and white documentary-style photographs are a peek into a quickly turning unconventional lifestyle. The images are a visual delight with their contrast and composition, as they go on to document the true essence of childhood in its unadulterated form.
Boon just finished her first solo U.S. exhibition called “Summer” at the Obscura Gallery, New Mexico. Here are a few snippets from her show.
Boon had sent her eldest to a school initially but they were not happy with the curriculum and timings. She and husband were more keen on inculcating social and cultural values in their children and keep them in touch with nature. So all of them are now home-schooled.
Boon was also raised in a rural setting but she attended conventional school herself.
Their 10-acre land has animals on it. The children start their day by taking care of these animals. The Boon family is always involved in adventures, even if it is just a trip to a beach.
Boon has managed to instil a love for reading books in her children, a rare feat for the cosmopolitan, technologically advanced kids of today.
While early childhood was easier to monitor the use of technology by her kids, now they use the computer more. The change has been gradual, which Boon is happy with. She refuses to blame other kids who are more into smartphones and video games and believes that kids are their own selves and choose what is best for them.
The sprawling 10 acre land of the Boons has horses, along with other farm animals like goats, chickens, and ducks. They have two pet dogs, a tiny vineyard, and a pond at the back of the house as well.
The open and vast area gives the kids better access to nature and enjoy its beauty. The kids also have friends in their neighbourhood, which, in a rural setting like this, is a 5-10km wide radius.
Boon loves to take candid shots of interesting compositions which catch her eye. She prefers the summer months because of the various activities that go on.
Boon often spots the magic in real life moments before she captures them while sometimes they are found in the editing process. The movement and expression of the bodies fascinate her.
Boon finds great appeal in the lack of colors in any photograph. To her, black and white photographs have a mysterious quality to them.
For budding photographers, Boon recommends to keep on shooting. Documentary-style photographers need to shoot all they can, even when they don’t want to. That is what helped with Boon’s growth the most.
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For her first U.S. solo exhibition, Boon chose Obscura Gallery. She loved the display of an artefact collection of Native Indians in the gallery where there were excellent photographic prints to support the great stories within them.
All images are copyright of Niki Boon.
You can find out more about this New Zealander and her works here.