Wanting to depict the emotional tide of adolescence, Niki Boon (b. 1974, New Zealand) started photographing her eldest daughter, who had recently turned 11. “I am intrigued with the the evolution one goes through at this significant and vulnerable stage”, explains Boon. “I regard it as a curious dance on the edge of innocence, between the physical and emotional self-consciousness of adulthood and a world of imagination and freedom.”
Boon used the natural environment where she and her family live as the setting for her photos, merging motherhood, childhood, home and nature into a series that expresses a deep personal involvement of its protagonists. Regardless of the sensitivity involved, Boon is attentive to a precise aesthetic distinguished by velvety blacks and dramatic tones of grey. The intensity of the landscape is enhanced by the solitary presence of the young girl, who appears facing the force and the beauty of inner and outer nature. She is captured in the recurring gesture of using her arms to embrace and protect herself, perhaps in an attempt to hold onto something that will eventually have to be let go. We can see her playing with mud, dolls, leaves, water and wind, her expression still bearing in some photographs the gaze of a child, while in others she already reveals the reflectiveness of a young adult.