Gorgeous Photo Series Captures the Wonders of a Tech-Free Childhood

Image: Nike Boon

Childhood in the RawNike Boon

Lots of us aspire to be "free-range" parents and fantasize about bringing up our kids in an all-natural, technology-free environment -- but New Zealand–based mom and photographer Niki Boon is actually doing it. Boon and her husband are raising and homeschooling their four children, ages 7 to 13, on a 10-acre farm in a rural area -- without the distractions of video games, iPads, or smartphones -- and documenting their lives in a gorgeous photo series, "Childhood in the Raw."

The series was partly inspired by Boon's own childhood, she tells CafeMom.

"I had the extremely good fortune to grow up on a farm with extended family," she wrote in an email.

"My memories are most certainly of barefoot freedom, tree huts, bike riding, and wide open spaces waiting to be explored. It is a childhood freedom that I try to replicate for my children now and capture in my images."

One thing's for sure -- these amazing photos will almost certainly inspire you to unplug your own family, at least temporarily!

  • Hanging Around

    1

    Boon says she started taking pictures of her babies just like any mom, in an attempt to preserve their childhood memories, but the project eventually turned into something else. 

    "I think it was with our decision to educate our children alternatively that made documenting them take on a whole new direction and meaning for me," she said.

  • Getting a Boost

    2

    This shot perfectly captures sibling relations at their finest. Sure, brothers and sisters can drive each other nuts -- but they're always there to lend a hand.

  • Going for a Spin

    3

    "I hope that although my images are deeply personal, others can connect to some part of their own childhood through them," Boon said. 

    It's safe to say this photo of Boon's daughter spinning with abandon brings back childhood memories for all of us!

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  • Inspired by Nature

    4

    Previously a physiotherapist, Boon has found her passion for photography through documenting her kids.

    "The images in the beginning didn't tell the true story and I was frustrated by that ... so I worked to improve my skills so I could get our story in more depth. It is a far cry from working as a physiotherapist, but it is actually a place I feel I belong far more than I ever did as a physiotherapist."

  • Bee's Knees

    5

    This image perfectly sums up the carefree childhood every kid deserves!

  • Staying Silly

    6

    Without the crutch of technological devices, kids find all kinds of imaginative ways to entertain themselves!

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  • Shore Thing

    7

    "Freedom is an element I try to capture in my pictures," said Boon. "This is what I hope that my children will see when they look at these images in years to come. It was why I started taking the images, and it is why I continue."

  • Chilling Out

    8

    Fact: Summer days are all about eating popsicles barefoot. (Or at least they should be!)

  • The Good With the Bad

    9

    Boon said that it's important for her to depict the "solemn" times along with the happier ones.

    "My dream is for viewers to be moved by my images in some way, to feel something," she said.

    "I don't necessarily desire everyone to like my images, or even understand them; I just want them to feel a little. To see the honesty, the reality, the raw, the truth in those that I photograph, the life they live and the wonder and depth in their everyday, the beauty in the ordinary."

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  • In the Swing

    10

    "Taking an unconventional approach to our children's education and our lifestyle has been a journey with many questions, both from others and from ourselves, about what we are doing and why," said Boon.

    That curiosity and wonder definitely comes through in the photos!

  • Kid's Best Friend

    11

    Dramatic and stunning, this image shows how beautiful it can be when kids and animals are truly in their element.

  • Family Tree

    12

    A tree like this one is even better than a jungle gym (and it's a great place to grab a quick nap, too).

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  • Friends in Arms

    13

    "My mother died when I was young and now I have just a couple of small albums of faded but highly treasured 6 x 4 photos to tell my childhood stories," said Boon.

    "It is my passion to record as much as I can of my children's day-to-day life as well as their adventures, their childhood, as I view it, in the most meaningful pictures as I can ... for them to enjoy and relive for years to come."

  • Dirty Deeds

    14

    Most modern kids don't have many chances to get good and dirty, but it's one of the best ways to stay grounded (no pun intended!).

  • Sole Mates

    15

    "It has been a most interesting journey," said Boon of raising her kids, "full of ups and downs and twists and turns."

    And it just keeps going!

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