Mother and talented photographer Niki Boon has chosen to raise her kids totally tech free: no Netflix, no iPads, just 10 acres of coast-side property in New Zealand to explore. And she’s been capturing their unusual upbringing on camera in stunning candid photos.
The photos serve a dual purpose. Not only are they there to document her kids’ childhood, they serve as affirmation that she’s doing the right thing by raising them this way, something she’s received both praise and criticism over.
“Taking an unconventional approach to our children’s education and our lifestyle has been a journey with many questions, both from others and from ourselves, about what we are doing and why.” Niki told us over email. “Documenting their days has helped me to reflect on our decision, one often rife with objections and criticisms, and reconfirm to me that they are right where they belong: wild and free, covered in mud, running and living through nature.”
Niki isn’t your typical mom photographer; as you can probably tell from the quality of her imagery, she’s been passionate about photography for some time. “My initiation into photography started whilst working as a physiotherapist through a particularly dreary Scottish winter,” she explains “where I took a dark room course for something to do in the dark evenings and weekends.”
But what started as a way to escape the doldrums turned into a powerful passion.
“I became and am still obsessed with the power of a photograph, by how an image can move you inside… the pure magic beholden within,” says Niki. “I spent the next 4 years traveling and working in foreign countries and relished seeing the world through my lens in my time off.”
When she returned to New Zealand, her pursuit of photography ended for a long time—she no longer had access to a dark room. Only with the birth of her first child did the passion re-emerge.
“It was with our decisions to educate our children alternatively that documenting their lives took on a whole new direction and meaning for me,” says Niki. “I also wanted to explore more about what childhood is, and what it is to grow up, and for this reason I choose to show images which may depict the loneliness and solitude of childhood, the pain and hurt that is also experienced, I didn’t want to shy away from the less joyful aspects of the journey.”
Every aspect of a tech-free upbringing is captured in Niki’s photos of her children: joy and pain, imagination and boredom, togetherness and loneliness.
“My dream is for viewers to be moved by my images in some way, to feel something,” she told us in closing. “I don’t necessarily desire everyone to like my images, or even understand them, I just want them to feel a little. To see the honesty, the reality, the raw, the truth in those that I photograph, the life they live and the wonder and depth in their everyday, the beauty in the ordinary.”
“I hope that although my images are deeply personal, that others can connect to some part of their own childhood through them.”
Image credits: All photos by Niki Boon and used with permission.