A stunning photo series is showcasing the joys of a tech-free childhood.
New Zealand photographer and mother of four, Niki Boon, documented her children’s everyday lives in a series she calls “Childhood in the Raw.”
“This project came into being with our decision to educate our children alternatively, at home,” Boon told HuffPost. The family lives in a rural environment without modern electronic devices like TV and smartphones.
Boon said this lifestyle choice has sparked a lot of questions and criticism from friends, family and strangers. At first, even she and her husband sometimes had doubts.
“In the beginning, the photos served as a visual document, to record things that the children were doing in a day, to reassure both others and ourselves that there was learning taking place,” the mom explained.
“But as time went on, I became frustrated that the pictures weren’t really telling the story well enough for me. It just wasn’t with enough depth,” she continued. “So I spent many hours and late nights trying to teach myself how to take better pictures, ones that depicted what I was seeing in front of me, and tell the story the way I saw it … and things just evolved from there.”
Boon and her husband have a 12-year-old daughter and three sons, ages 7, 9 and 13.
“Like all parents we would love our children to be strong in who they are, confident, free thinkers, proactive, independent, resilient, empathetic and happy,” she said. “I hope that, living with the land that we have, that they also gain a healthy respect for the earth, and for the animals and plants that live with us on it.”
The photographer said her family’s alternative, tech-free lifestyle reminds her of her own childhood growing up on a farm with extended family. She told HuffPost she hopes her photos move people in some way, “negative or positive.”
Ultimately, the mom just wants to document the wonders of her kids’ childhood. Said Boon, “I hope they look back on it and smile.”