"The world is full of stories. But how many of those stories just tell us what we already know? How many of those stories teach us to see the world from a truly different perspective?"
Photographer Kiliii Yuyan illuminates the stories of the Arctic and human communities connected to the land. Informed by ancestry that is both Nanai/Hèzhé (East Asian Indigenous) and Chinese-American, he explores the human relationship to the natural world from different cultural perspectives. Kiliii is an award-winning contributor to National Geographic Magazine and other major publications.
Both wilderness survival skills and empathy have been critical for Kiliii’s projects in extreme environments and cultures outside his own. On assignment, he has fled collapsing sea ice, weathered botulism from fermented whale blood, and found kinship at the edges of the world. In addition, Kiliii builds traditional kayaks and contributes to the revitalization of northern Indigenous culture.
Kiliii is a National Geographic Explorer (2021), one of PDN's 30 Photographers (2019), a Grist 50 Fixer (2022), a member of Indigenous Photograph and Diversify Photo. His work has been exhibited worldwide and received some of photography's top honors. Kiliii's public talks inspire others about photography, Indigenous perspectives and relationship to land. Kiliii is based out of traditional Duwamish lands (Seattle), but can be found across the circumpolar Arctic much of the year.
- 2022, Gift of the Whale, Whale Tales, HI
- 2021, Photographing the Land at its Extremes, Nikon + Creative Photo Academy, Torrence, CA
- 2021, Keynote: North, First Light Image Festival, Whitehorse, CA
- 2020, Keynote: The Camera is My Voice, National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
- 2019, People of the Whale, Museum of Art, Fort Collins, CO
- 2019, Season of the Whale, National Geographic Photography Seminar, Washington D.C.
- 2018, On the Sea Ice, We Wear White, George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY
- 2015, Living Wild, DPReview PIX, McCall Hall, Seattle, WA
Selected Awards & Honors
- Zeke Award for Systemic Change, 2022, 1st Place
- Grist 50 Climate and Sustainability Fixer, 2022
- Leica Oskar Barnard Award, 2021, Shortlist
- National Geographic Travel Pictures of the Year, 2021
- National Geographic Storytelling Grant, 2021
- Society of Publication Designers, 2020, 1st Place
- Nia Tero Storytelling Fellow, 2020
- US Embassy Headline Artist, UAE: RAK Fine Arts, 2020
- International Photography Awards, 2019, 1st Place
- PDN’s Top 30 Emerging Photographers, 2019
- PCNW 22nd Juried Exhibition, 2019, 1st Place
- Best of ASMP, 2018, 1st Place
- Eddie Adams Workshop XXXI, 2018
- PDN World in Focus, 2017, 1st Place
- Px3 Prix de la Photographie Paris, 2017, 1st Place
- 2021, Rumors of Arctic Belonging, Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR
- 2020, The Living Arctic, Photoville, New York, NY
- 2020, Lenscratch, Spirit: Indigenous Art, Artists and Issues, Griffin Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
- 2020, In/side Out, National Cheng Kung Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan
- 2020, Connected Communities, National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
- 2019, People of the Whale, Center for Fine Art Photography, Museum of Art Fort Collins, CO
- 2019, PCNW 22nd Juried Exhibition, Photographic Center NW, Seattle, WA
- 2019, How We See Ourselves: Natives Photograph, Photoville, New York, NY
- 2018, On the Sea Ice, We Wear White, Glazer’s Camera, Seattle, WA