After reflecting on her own childhood on a farm in rural New Zealand, Niki Boon was certain that growing and learning “wild and free,” with long days spent playing barefoot outside, was the same sort of upbringing she wanted to give her own four children. A self-taught photographer, Boon’s portfolio keeps us consistently spellbound and left with a feeling of nostalgia for forgotten days spent getting dirty and running around with siblings while exploring the world.

Again living in rural New Zealand, this time with her brood on a piece of land perfect for her children’s adventuring, Boon refers to her work as “turning your beautiful ordinary into art.” Drawn to black and white photography, Boon expertly controls the natural lighting of her environment, making use of shadows and the position of the sun to frame her children in whatever play they’re found in that day. As big admirers of her work, we recently spoke with Boon on her love of black and white photography, what first inspired her to pick up a camera, and her tips for photographing children.

Summer 2016 by Niki Boon on

How did you discover photography?
My fascination with photography began one cold and dreary Scottish winter when I took a darkroom course for something to pass the weekends. I still remember the magic of the darkroom and producing my very own prints. That lead to a desire to produce better images for printing.

Beach by Niki Boon on

The passion died a little on returning to New Zealand with no access to a darkroom, but was re-kindled with the birth of our first child. I, like a lot of mothers, enjoyed documenting the children’s first days, months, and years, but it was with the decision to educate our children alternatively that my photography took on more of a focus.

What inspires you to pick up a camera and shoot?
Summer evenings. An adventure in nature with the kids. The outdoors. The quirky things my children do. Anywhere new. Dark cloudy days.

Summer 2016 by Niki Boon on

Why do you prefer to shoot in black and white?
I have a long love of black and white images, from my days of pouring through old family albums to discovering and investing in old posters of Robert Doisneau and Henri Cartier-Bresson images, before I really knew who they were as artists. Then, my love affair of the darkroom and all the magic it contained for me.

Back yard stories by Niki Boon on

Black and white enables me to see light differently. Rather than focusing on colors I find I focus more on the direction and quality of light. I just find the interaction between light and shadow more interesting to focus on than color relationships.

Wild and free by Niki Boon on

I truly believe there is certainly a magic in black and white imagery that I find impossible to explain. The magic is in the shadows and the highlights, and in the mystique that, at times, can tread a fine line between reality and fiction.

What’s the best advice you ever got from your mom?
My Mum died when I was in my late teens and she was sick for years prior to that. And to be honest, my memories of her and what she used to tell me are limited. Although I do remember her love of books and laughing at herself a lot; there is certainly something to be learnt from that for sure.

Out my backdoor by Niki Boon on

What’s your best tip for photographing kids?
Be patient. They will always do something worth documenting eventually, just enjoy being with them while you wait. Always say yes to an adventure with them — always.

In our backyard by Niki Boon on

To see more photos from Niki Boon, follow her on 500px and on her website.