In the Media

Tuvaq wins 2017 CommArts Photography Award

My film short, Tuvaq: Edge of the Ice has won in the Multimedia category of the 2017 Communication Arts Photography Awards.

Communication Arts magazine, a professional journal for those involved in creativity in visual communications, has announced the winners of its 58th annual photography competition. One hundred and forty-one projects were selected by a jury of creative professionals; 3,736 entries were submitted to the competition.

On the great expanse of sea ice, under the eternal sun of Arctic spring, time evaporates. The mind calms and you begin to inhale the world around you: the cold, the wind, the ice, the quiet, the wait.

But underneath the damper of stillness, life boils. Out on the tuvaq–the expansive interface of sea and ice–everything happens. On the tuvaq, the whale breaches. The walrus is harpooned. The maktaq is eaten. We wait. There is no need for words. The mind is still.

Stillness of the mind, stillness that flows from quiet observation, is a concept embedded in every indigenous culture I have ever encountered. It’s a notion never truly grasped by a mind accustomed to the frantic pace of a modern world. For two years, I lived alongside an Iñupiaq whaling crew in the farthest reaches of Alaska’s northern coast.

For me, going north meant going home. I have devoted my life to reclaiming an indigenous heritage stripped away in a generation by communism, war, and stigma. Out on the sea ice, I found a comfort among a culture that was new, yet familiar: fiercely independent yet living for each other, grounded in tradition yet unheedingly pragmatic.

I also found stillness.

Tuvaq: Edge of the Ice is an exploration of the stillness and quiet mystery that envelopes and defines life on the tuvaq.

CommArts Photo Awards 2017 Press Release

Spiegel Online: Roasted over a fire, Grasshoppers taste great

spiegel-header
The German Magazine Spiegel has done an interview on my recent project, Living Wild.

A group of Americans want to live in the Stone Age to be a part of the wilderness. Photographer Kiliii Yuyan accompanied them. But it’s not for the average adventurer– the project is really hard.

You can access the original article in German here, or see the translation below: http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/jaeger-und-sammler-leben-wie-die-steinzeitmenschen-a-1116477.html

Translation: Speigel Online

Roasted over a fire, Grasshoppers taste great

 

Kiliii Yueyan is a scion of two worlds. As a child of Russian immigrants, the photographer grew up in the United States. His ancestors belong to the Nanai, a popular Siberian primordial inhabitants. Today Yueyan is part of the “Stone Age Living Project”, a group that brings them back to the woods to live for a few weeks as the people of the Stone Age hunter-gatherers. On the project’s website states: “We do not want the wilderness about life to get back to civilization we want. Inliving the wild.”

Yueyan is already for more than 15 years of the group. In one of the last expeditions, the photographer took his camera. The photo series “Living Wild” are crisp glimpses of a life without the comforts of civilization.

And, yes, they look in their stone-dresses as the wildlings in “Game of Thrones”, Kiliii Yueyan has heard this before.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Once a year, unplug and your colleagues to Stone Age clothes, go into the wilderness and live a few weeks as hunter-gatherers. Why?

Yueyan: When I started 17 years ago, I was looking for my roots. My ancestors are Siberian natives who still live very secluded and in harmony with nature.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How have you been?

Yueyan: What I have learned over the years is, above all, how many things we have forgotten about living together with nature. What is good for you, what is bad? How do you do a piece of forest floor to your sleeping place? I am a long time part of the project and now a pretty good hunter. But compared to someone who would be really grown up in a wild culture, I am perhaps at the level of a ten- or twelve-year-olds.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What do you still always driven in the woods?

Yueyan: If I go out and try to live by nature, I’m just learning to appreciate how easy things are today; about as simple comforts of water coming from the tap. In the wild, there are things that are hard to get in our world: For example, clean water that had not been clarified previously. Or a fresh salmon. So a salmon, which is fresh, because you caught him up in the river and has prepared a few minutes later on the fire.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: It sounds nice. But judging from the brochure of self-discovery trips for stressed top manager.

Yueyan: If you start with the preparations, there are already some who expect it is a survival adventure, a battle with nature. But it is the opposite. The idea is to find ways to live together with nature and of nature. Who just looking for a great outdoor adventure, leaving the camp after one, at least two weeks. There is just too hard.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What is so hard?

Yueyan: The challenge to survive as hunter-gatherers. Cold, wet, injury, the long distances that one person makes each day – that alone brings a gentle to the absolute limit. But to do the little food that is what makes you ready out there.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What are the meals like?

Yueyan: Mainly there are berries or salads from the herbs that we find. In addition, fish and grilled grasshoppers. Roh is the way disgusting. But roasted over the fire, grasshoppers taste great. But it’s hard to be away sick. After about ten days you can feel the consequences: One can not think as good, one is fast dizzy. It is generally more difficult to understand what is happening around you.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: hunger to know many homeless people who involuntarily outdoor life.

Yueyan: This is an aspect which we are aware. In the beginning when we planned the trip, I offered the story of the “National Geographic”. But one of the editors said, “What I take: There’s this bunch of people who live in the forest, because they have the privilege to which you simply do not see the poor people who live on the road and pull into the forest.. ” Therefore, they have rejected the story. They wanted to kindle no controversy.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: And what do you think?

Yueyan: To say we live outside like poor people there, not true. In fact, this life is very rich. Rich in time, full of impressions and experiences.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How did an excursion begins so? Agreed to in a parking lot and then go easily together in the forest?

Yueyan: No, as a beginner it takes months of preparation. You have to establish yourself and the food that you want to take to prepare, your entire clothes. Because with pre-dried food is your life there a lot easier – at least initially.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So you go in advance to the store and stock up with Stone Age food like dried meat and dried fruit?

Yueyan: No, everything has to be collected and dried himself.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: That is checked?

Yueyan: There are very strict rules, which mitdarf and what is not. Basically, you have to restore it from nature, with Stone Age tools and Stone Age techniques.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: But have you doing a first aid kit and a cell phone for emergencies.

Yueyan: That’s all not allowed. Part of the idea is to learn to solve problems without the help of modern technology. The last time we had, for example, forest fires on three sides of our warehouse. Therefore, an emergency plan was very important.So we marched twice daily at a nearby mountain and looked to see if the fire had come closer.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: And your plan for the real thing?

Yueyan: There was a lake nearby. To which we would have run if the fires had trapped us.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: And then?

Yueyan: If we had been waiting in the lake, while the fire everything would have devastated around us.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What are you talking on this trip, anyway? Only about Stone Age theme?

Yueyan: Not quite. In the beginning you have to speak a lot about practical things.Where do we go? Where to find water? Where food? Where is it safe? How do we find traces of animals that we can chase? Another dominant theme are sensory perceptions. It really speaks a lot about the smell of things or how they feel. Also because we run all the time barefoot. That’s as much information that we usually no longer perceive. About the smell of cold water.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Sounds pretty romantic and intense. But you have laughed at the question. Why?

Yueyan: Because you pretty much about excrement speaks: “Have you relieved there Ah, because I really wanted to sleep?” And: Hardly anything makes the other angrier than having done his business too close to the camp.

Outtakes: Losing my waders with the Nature Conservancy

From TNC Magazine: Photographer Kiliii Yuyan almost lost all of his belongings while treading through waist-deep mud to capture the diversity of wildlife at Elkhorn Slough for a story in Nature Conservancy magazine.

The challenging shoot and Yuyan’s positive attitude were ultimately rewarded with incredible photographs of the estuary’s teeming wildlife—including seals, sea otters, and Caspian terns.

Outtakes: Between Land & Sea

Living Wild: Story with with Feature Shoot

YUYAN-LIVINGWILD-4Feature Shoot showcases the work of international emerging and established photographers who are transforming the medium through compelling, cutting-edge projects.  I’m excited they are featuring my project, Living Wild.

Kiliii Yuyan lives a life less ordinary. As a native Russian descendent of “the salmon people who live along the Amur river in Siberia”, yet raised in America, Yuyan grew up chasing the traditions of his culture and seeking an answer to the question: “can a modern person learn to see the world through native eyes?”

See more on Feature Shoot

Interview with the Candid Frame Podcast

candidframeI just had the pleasure of speaking with Ibarionex Perello, host of the Candid Frame podcast and a well known-street photographer. Ibarionex and I were recently co-presenters at the photo expo PIX2015. I’m excited to be on the show since I’ve been a long time fan of the Candid Frame, which is really the best podcast on photography out there– it focuses on the art and process of photography rather than gear and technique.

We talked primarily about the Living Wild project, my long-term project on modern hunter-gatherer practitioners, as well as bit about my background growing up as a Native/Chinese kid and learning self-reliance. You can play/download it directly here.

Living Wild: Presenting Stone-Age Living at PIX2015

Living Wild documents a group of 21st century hunter-gatherers who are rediscovering the traditional living skills of the Paleolithic. I gave a presentation on this multi-year documentary project for National Geographic at DPreview’s Photo Interactive Expo 2015. It was a fabulous experience and I had the opportunity to share the stage with some of my heroes, including Aaron Huey, Cristina Mittermier and Joe McNally. More if you click through.
*Note, the YouTube link above is the ‘quick’ version and will be replaced by the final edited version. If it doesn’t work, try http://www.pix2015.com/videos.

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Communication Arts 2015 Winner

A rare lightning storm over recent lava flows on Hawaii

A rare lightning storm over recent lava flows on Hawaii

Folks, I’m humbled to announce that Communication Arts has chosen my lightning image from the Pahoehoe Lava flows in Hawaii for their 2015 Photo Annual. If you’re a subscriber to CommArts, here’s a link to the Photo Annual.

CA Annual Header

Many thanks to my partner stock agency Aurora Photos and Larry Westler for submitting the image and for their enthusiasm at supporting my adventures everywhere!

Inspiration at the Lifetime Agency

IMG_9392-2It’s been a busy summer jaunting about Europe building kayaks and taking pictures! I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak at the amazing 3e Lifetime Agency. Based in Minneapolis, they are the creative team behind Lifetime Fitness and quite a group of inspiring people themselves.

I gave a presentation on shooting photographs, of course, but when it comes down to it, I think to a large degree what I was talking about was Life. It was really about this quote from photographer Jay Maisel:

If you want to make more interesting photographs, become a more interesting person.

Life is best lived not worrying about the past and future so much as simply going on inspiration and learning to follow the power of saying Yes.

3e posted a blog entry. They were inspired as well and I found it amazing to chat with so many interesting people so dedicated to creativity and fitness together–a few of my favorite things.

http://www.thelifetimeagency.com/play/kiliii-fish-brings-all-the-inspiration/

Feature in Au Magazine

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Au Magazine is Aurora Photo‘s quarterly publication, an amazing collection of shots by the best in adventure and stock photography. This quarter I’m humbled to be among the featured photographers alongside some amazing talents, covering combat photography to fine art. I’m also sad to say goodbye to longtime Aurora Director of Photography Peter Dennen, who has with this final issue moved into photo consulting with Pedro+Jackie.

Interviewed by Shoot for Thrill Podcast

Shoot for Thrill

Last month I was interviewed by Chris Smith (@theecjsmith), Founder & Host of the Shoot For Thrill Podcast. The podcast is one of the top podcast in iTunes and focuses on successful photographers that are at the top of their craft who desire to spur on inspiration and action in others. There are some great interviews with some fantastic shooters on there, such as Joel Grimes and Delphine Diallo, definitely worth listening to.During our podcast we talked about my personal background as a developing photographer, the path to inspiration through personal work, the need to assist, and the business side of commercial photography.In the interview Chris drew out of me not only my story, but also some struggles I went through, successes I found, and we even talked about some of the gear I use. I would love for you to hear the story of my journey. Take a listen below and let me know what you think. http://shootforthrill.com/kiliiifish