June 21, 2019 to July 27, 2019
1405 Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe - 87505 NM
Obscura Gallery proudly presents our Summer exhibition with New Zealand photographer Niki Boon and her first solo exhibition in the United States debuting photographs which document her family's rural, home-schooled life in Marlborough, New Zealand. While our U.S. Summertime is New Zealand's Wintertime, we can bask in the imagery that Boon has taken during the warm months in New Zealand while the children pursue an alternative education and lifestyle in a natural environment on top of the East coast of the South island of New Zealand.
Boon's photographic work was born from her intense desire to document her family's lifestyle that the country environment has nurtured. A mother of four, Niki shares her family's rural life with camera wizardry that utilizes motion, incredible perspective, and depth of field, as well as a style that bears influence from those of Jock Sturges and Sally Mann but exudes her own distinction using a wide-angle, sometimes close-up lens and ground-perspective imagery. 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 are found in that day.
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.
Boon and her husband are raising their children in a remote countryside, where the children climb trees, play with animals, and run free and barefoot, all the while without video games, TV, or screen-time. The parents were inspired by the Steiner, or Waldorf, approach to education, which focuses on physical activity and hands-on-learning as opposed to technology. That's not to say the children are entirely sheltered from technology, as the family does have a computer in the house and the two older children are allowed very limited access, but there is nowhere near the same amount of screen time that most contemporary families have adapted to.
I believe that ultimately every parent does the best they can by their children with what they have available, and every family lives in very different surroundings and circumstances. This way of living works for us at this time, but I know that every family is different.
Of Niki's start in photography she explains, "My fascination with photography began one cold and dreary Scottish winter when I took a darkroom course…. 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. 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.
I wanted to also explore what childhood is, and what it is to grow up, and for this reason I choose to also show images which may depict the loneliness and solitude of childhood, the pain and hurt that is also experienced. I didn't want to shy away from the less joyful aspects of the journey. I also love the pictures that really depict the freedom that childhood allows.