This Photographer Captures the Beauty of a Childhood Spent Offline
Photographer Niki Boon and her family live a simple life in rural New Zealand, surrounded by 10 acres of rivers, coastline, bush, and hills.
What they are not surrounded by are screens of any kind. No television, no iPhones, no computers. "My children are unschooled and live without TV or modern electronic devises," Boon explains on her website. "A lifestyle that may seem unconventional to some, but I am here to celebrate the magical place I choose to live with my family."
While it may seem incongruous, Boon shoots and then documents her kids' beautiful, carefree days spent together out in nature via posts on social media—Facebook, Instagram and her own personal website.
"I photograph as physical record of their childhood... but also as a reflection of a childhood rooted deep in my own past ... a most sincere place of freedom... a childhood I now pass on to my own children," she explains. "Although deeply personal, I believe that others will also connect to some aspect of their own childhood."
She's right. The breathtaking images take me back to the days when the hours after school were spent running around freely with the other kids in my neighborhood, a shocking reminder that my own children's upbringing—spent mostly bent over screens—looks nothing like my own.
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Boon calls the ongoing photo series Childhood in the Raw, and it's a stunning look at the uninhibited simplicity of play—hours spent living in the moment, dipping into rock pools, building sandcastles, playing with sticks, and searching for crickets.
"I believe my children are right where they belong, covered in mud, running and living through nature," Boon says. "They belong here wild and free and earth connected in a way where the landscape begins and their little souls end."
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Kind of makes you want to throw your phone right into that muddy water, doesn't it?