Her work is raw, honest and emotive. Meet Niki Boon, a former pediatric physiotherapist and currently one of the world’s best child photographers! Niki took The 1st Place in The Lifestyle Category and 1st Place in the Silhouette Category. On top of that, she received numerous honourable mentions in the Second Half of B&W Child Photo Competition 2015. All the results of The Second Half of B&W CHILD 2015 can be seen here.
Q: Dear Niki, first of all we want to congratulate one more time for achieving incredible success on B&W CHILD PHOTO COMPETITION 2015! You won the 1st place in The Lifestyle Category, the 1st place in The Silhouette Category and numerous honourable mentions. In one word, your work was truly noticed by our judging panel. Did you expect this?
A: Ummm….no definitely not. I have followed your website, blog and Facebook Page for many months now and have admired and been inspired by the incredible art that is on display …. To think that my pictures would be recognized in amongst this enormous amount of talent is an incredible honour!
Q: Can you tell us more about your winning photograph in the Lifestyle Category “Sisters”? What’s the story behind this photograph?
A: The picture is of my two girls who have the most wonderful close relationship. We were swimming in the river down the road from us. My youngest was having trouble getting back across the slippery stones and my eldest went back to help her out, I just love the way my little one wraps herself around her older siblings when they help her , and I wanted to record that.
Q: Your photograph “Run” took the first place in the Silhouette Category. Can you tell us more about this photograph?
A: This was my youngest son , with our dog on a wintery day just after a storm. Both my son and our dog love to run , a lot and I happened to grab this shot as they ran along the stop bank beside our local river.
Q: Can you tell us more about you? Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?
A: I am a New Zealander born and bred and grew up in the north island on a large farm with my extended family. We had a wonderful childhood filled with countryside adventures. Now I live in the south island with my own family. We have a 10 acre lifestyle block with a selection of animals and small vineyard , it is here that I work to replicate a childhood with the freedoms that I was lucky to experience as a child.
Q: You are a former pediatric physiotherapist. Can you tell us when and how it happened this shift in a career?
A: After my second child was born, it became very difficult to juggle both parents working and two children, in the end I felt that neither my clients at work or my children at home were getting the best of me, something had to give and my children were priority. The photography really became important to me with our decision to educate our children alternatively, it was and still is an interesting journey for us and the photography helps me to reflect on our life decision.
Q: You are homeschooling 4 kids. How do you handle all this? Do you photograph every day?
A:Some days are certainly more challenging than others. We tend to take more of an unschooling approach to our children’s learning where they are largely self directed with what they choose to focus on, which works well for us. My camera sits close by at all times, and whilst not quite everyday , it is used certainly most days.
Q: How do your kids react when you photograph them? Are they used to be photographed by you?
A: My children are so used to having the camera around now, that they react very little to it. Occasionally I might ask if they can “do that again” or similar , and sometimes they react to that… but mostly it is just part of their life. They know that the photographs are ultimately theirs, and although shared with others are primarily taken for their record books.
Q: Do you like to travel? What’s your favorite place?
A: I LOVE to travel. When I was in my early 20’s I spent 4 years overseas working and travelled as much as I could in that time. It is challenging to travel anywhere from New Zealand as we are so far away from the rest of the world and it is expensive to fly anywhere , especially with a family of 6. But I have a huge world map on our living room wall, and countless cultural books in our house and I encourage my kids to travel one day.
Q: What kind of music do you enjoy the most?
A:I love a lot of New Zealand musicians, also am a big fam of 70’s music.
Q: Who are some photographers that you admire?
A:So many , it is hard to list. There are a lot of incredible artists that I have ‘met’ through the internet whose work is constantly moving me deeply. I also love the work of photojournalists such as Ernesto Bazan, Dorothy Lange, Eugene Richards. I often look at photographs from the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Q: Where did you learn photography?
A: I have never had any ‘formal’ learning, but I have been incredibly inspired by a few online courses that I have taken.
Q: What equipment do you use?
A: I have a Canon 5d mk III and shoot primarily with a 35mm lens.
Q: Do you edit your photographs in Photoshop or Lightroom?
A: Lightroom. I am trying to challenge myself to learn more photoshop, but for now almost all of my processing is done in lightroom.
Q: You are working with clients as well, yet you are one of the rare photographers who didn’t make compromise and started doing posed family portraits once you started charging for your work. Can you tell us more about this? Is it hard for you to educate clients why you believe in documenting more than staged portraits?
A: I have done some client work, but right now I am focusing more on my personal work. The client work I do take on is documentary style. I make sure this is clear to my clients first, mostly through the images I show them, but I also explain this to them in an email and often backed up with a phone call also.
Q: Do you sell photography prints to your clients or digital files?
A:Because my business is small and only in its beginning stages, I currently sell only digital files, but it is my goal to sell prints, and albums.
Q: Your work has a fine art quality. That being said, it’s not surprising we see your success in photography competitions like B&W CHILD. Do you also showcase your work in art galleries?
A: I recently applied for a group exhibition in a small gallery in America and had 5 images selected , which was a huge honour, and I am very excited about the idea of having my pictures viewed in print.
Q: What inspires you?
A:I am inspired by wide open spaces, windswept beaches, warm windy days, my kids running barefoot and free, good novels and character based plays….
Q: What would be your message to other photographers?
A: Shoot , shoot , shoot … for me is was how I learnt so much about photography, about what I love and how I work.