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Family Photography: Documenting An ‘Unconventional’ Childhood In A Modern Era

By Hanssie on April 17th 2016

Quick, name five things you loved to do as a child (Mine were to read, roller skate, play with my friends, trade Garbage Pail Kids, and cuddle my puppy). If you’d ask my preteen daughter the same question, good luck, because she’s either busy on her phone texting her friends or on her laptop as many her age are doing. Childhood, as we knew it, has evolved into a generation of kids attached to their gadgets and do little more than grunt when you direct a question their way. Gone are the days where children were outside all day, using their imaginations and creativity to fuel their play.

Not wanting that lifestyle for her own family and children, photographer Niki Boon moved her family to a rural 10-acre property in New Zealand. Choosing an “unconventional” lifestyle, Niki and her family live off their land and her children are homeschooled.




A few years ago, while working as a Physiotherapist, Niki found her passion for photography in the darkroom, and then again after she quit her job as her children were born. In an article featuring her work in NatGeo, Niki explains,

“My mother died when I was young, and now I have just a couple of small albums of faded but highly treasured six-by-four photos to tell my childhood stories. It is my passion to record as much as I can of my children’s day-to-day lives, as well as their adventures, in the most meaningful pictures I can take … their stories, our stories, and a piece of me. They’re for them to enjoy and relive for years to come.”

And so is the basis of her current project, ‘Childhood in the Raw,’ family photography with the focus being on her family. Niki spends her days documenting her four children as they frolic in nature and living “life as it is.” For her, photographing them is a reflection of her own childhood, a nostalgic and sincere place of freedom, as she describes it. Niki captures moments where they are covered in mud, running free and wild, playing, and exploring. Her deeply personal family photographs are not only nostalgic for her, she believes that viewers will be reminded of aspects of their own childhood.



With their rural life tending to animals, farming for their food, and the carefree simplicity of just being children, Niki is hoping to just “celebrate the magical place” that she chooses to live with her family and document it all along the way.

Niki shoots with a Canon 5D Mark III and a 35mm 2.0 lens. Her post processing is simple with a few VSCO presets and “tweaks here and there.” You can see more of Niki Boon’s work on her website, FacebookInstagram, and 500px.








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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Andy & Amii Kauth

    This. Straight. Up. Rocks.

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  2. Korey Napier

    These are outstanding! Not only are these moments incredible, but the lighting, composition, and post processing are amazing!

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