Niki Boon: Dramatic Black and White Photographs of Childhood in New Zealand

By Cassie Rief in Featured Artists > Photography

Remember when you were a kid? You’d play outside with your friends until your mom beckoned you home at nightfall. Out there, amidst it all, you’d create adventures for yourself and get into the mud, the neighbor’s yard, or just into plain, good-ole trouble!

Welcome to Niki Boon’s photography. This talented photographer gives viewers an up close and personal view of her family’s life in rural New Zealand. She documents her children’s days in a nature-filled environment open to uninhibited play and exploration, and she does it in such a way that’s guaranteed to take you back to your own glory days when the world was your oyster and you drank from its knowledge.

“My children are unschooled and live without TV or modern electronic devices—a lifestyle that may seem unconventional to some, but is magical to us,” Niki says. “My photographs are a physical record of their childhood … life from a most sincere place of freedom … [and] a reflection of my own childhood.”

Are the bittersweet emotions taking over your soul as you take in the first photograph below? Almost every kid remembers running through the sprinklers on a hot, summer day, and this one is no exception.


Caught at the (literal) height of excitement, one child jumps over the sprinkler head with such pizazz that anyone viewing this photograph can’t help but be swept up in the same thrilling leap. What power and life there are in those little legs that get a surprising amount of air underneath their feet!

Meanwhile, other children look on, anxious to top the current jumper’s ambitious hop. It’s a moment of delight forever marked in time—a perfect memory of the wonderful dog days of summer.

Of course, there’s nothing quite as sweet as a couple of chicks taking a chick under their own (metaphorical) wing, as seen in the photograph below.


Freckles abound on the child to the right, who takes on the baby bird’s perspective by getting down to its eye level. She is no doubt experiencing and pondering life exactly as the chick is. Meanwhile, the other child dutifully watches the bird to ensure no harm comes to it. She’s ready to nestle it back in front of them if it wonders too far out of their eye and reach.

This is the type of photo that makes you wonder what sweet, innocent thoughts these two girls, with flyaway tendrils of silken hair, are thinking as they take in the wondrous creation of such a delicate little thing.

The final photograph below was taken from an album entitled “The Gift,” a tribute, I believe, to the wonderful gifts of love moms get when their children find something beautiful in nature.

Every mom has been presented with that special rock, colorful leaf or squiggly worm. But, perhaps most miraculous is the abundance of clean, crisp water.


The photo itself is breathtaking—the light of the day is captured magically as it, too, falls onto those upturned hands. Meanwhile, specks of light reflect like that of a million dazzling diamonds as water flies through the air, catching the sun’s rays in the purest of ways.

Just a simple, everyday action of collecting water, whether to splash it on one’s face or fill a pitcher, is enough to see this lovely world from an exhilarating new viewpoint.

If you’re mesmerized by these photos (I know I am!), please visit Niki’s website for even more striking images full of reckless abandon, sheer joy, and grateful wonder.


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