Niki Boon is a busy mum and former physiotherapist with a passion for photographing the carefree existence of her four children in the idyllic landscape of Marlborough, New Zealand. As you’ll see here, her black and white images effortlessly conjure a yearning to return to the innocence of childhood.
Niki had never studied photography, she simply loves her camera and the process of recording her kids’ uninhibited play. She started posting images to Instagram and to her surprise she now has 22,000 followers, she was crowned a winner in Capture’s Top Emerging Photographer Of The Year, the International Photographer of the Year Awards Awards, PDN’s Photo Annual 2016 and the New Zealand Photobook of the Year Awards.
We love Niki’s Instagram feed but found it interesting that the only place she appears is in her profile shot, never in a photo with her children. Despite that, you sense they’re all kindred spirits with a strong bond and family connection, so we contacted Niki to find out why she takes these photos, what she does with them, and to challenge her about why she rarely appears on the other side of the camera!
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In conversation with Niki Boon
I grew up on a farm in rural New Zealand, barefoot, wild and free. I try to replicate this existence for my children and to capture the joy of life immersed in nature in my photos. My mum also died when I was quite young, and many of my childhood stories went with her. I have only a few photos from those early years, so I want my children to have as many as possible. Now I’m a mother, I know just how important preserving childhood memories are.
What do you do with your photos and why?
I’ve got an Instagram feed and the images I post there have a strong impact and make sense all on their own. Sometimes I include a few words, or none at all. I also have a blog called ‘A Walk In The Trees’ where I use bigger images and get more creative by presenting 4 or 5 images in a series. I generally start with a few sentences to set the scene or to explain why I’ve been inspired to create the blog post.
I’ve only create two photobooks so far but I love how reading a book is a world away from looking at images onscreen. It’s a deeper experience when you hold the physical book, feel the paper and turn the pages. I get more absorbed and focused on each picture far longer than I ever would if I was scrolling down with a mouse. I can get totally lost in the story when it’s in a printed book. Laying out a book also gives me more freedom to present the photos, to choose the size of an image and add text wherever I want.
Any tips on putting a photo book together?
Until last year, I knew next to nothing about designing a photo book but I studied a few books by documentary photographers I admire, to learn how photos act differently when paired together, and how to create a story across a series of pages. It fascinates me how the sequence of images can change the story, and how clever sequencing can make it a more interesting or emotional read.
Do you back up your photos?
I’m ashamed to say that backing up images is not my strength but I want to learn more about it! Currently, I back up to two external hard drives and occasionally I upload my edited JPEGs to an online gallery page. It’s definitely something high on my ‘To Do’ list.
Are your children interested in photography?
My kids don’t pick up the camera much, probably because I’ve always got it in my hands, but if they do it’s to photograph a model or artwork they’ve made and they want to remember it. I do have a couple of very precious photos that my eldest two, Becca and Kurt, have taken of me and they mean a lot. (See below)
Do you ever get in front of the camera?
Not as often as I could. I should let my kids have the camera every now and again or maybe it’s time to master the self-timer? I’ve been playing around with the idea of putting my camera on the bookshelf in our living room and using a remote shutter release to capture different moments throughout the day and now you’ve inspired me, I should make this happen.
Niki’s Mothers Day gift from Momento
To encourage mums to get in front of the camera more often – regardless of imperfect hair, outfit or shape – we asked Niki to send some photos where she appears with her children, so we could create her the ultimate Mother’s Day book – a book that weaves together her photographs with sketches by the kids and the family portraits.
The result is pretty special because it highlights the blissful existence the children lead, you get a sense of their individual personalities, and the photos of mother and child proves how strong their bond is. Niki hasn’t received the book yet but we believe they will all appreciate it a little bit more every year, as the memories begin to fade, and especially in decades from now when the photographs are all they have to hold onto.
Get a sneak preview in the video below or flick through the full book here.
Win $1000 with a #momentomummyselfie
If there’s one favour you can do for yourself and your kids this Sunday, it’s to get a new family photo! Post it to your personal Instagram feed with #momentomummyselfie or email firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 May to enter the draw for a $750 Momento voucher and a $250 Filing Fairies pack – the perfect combination for keeping your photos organised and important memories safe.
20% off Momento Gift Vouchers