Photographer Kiliii Yuyan illuminates the stories of lives bound to the land and sea. Raised by parents seeking refuge in the US, Kiliii is informed by ancestry that is both Nanai/Hèzhé (East Asian Indigenous) and Chinese. Inspired by how many Indigenous and local human communities relate to the natural world, he searches for insights through different cultural perspectives. Kiliii makes photographic stories for the pages of National Geographic Magazine, TIME, and other major publications.
Arctic survival skills, coldwater diving, and a penchant for listening have been critical for Kiliii’s projects in extreme environments and cultures outside his own. On assignment, he has escaped collapsing sea ice, survived a stalking polar bear, and found kinship at the edges of the world. In addition, Kiliii builds traditional kayaks and contributes to the revitalization of Northern Indigenous/East Asian culture.
In 2023, Kiliii received National Geographic’s Eliza Scidmore Award, and was named one of PDN’s top 30 in 2019. He is a member of Indigenous Photograph and Diversify Photo. His work appears in galleries and museums worldwide and been honored by Leica, PDN, ASMP, and Px3. Kiliii’s public speaking inspires others about photographic storytelling, multicultural perspectives and the splendor of nature. Kiliii is based out of traditional Duwamish lands (Seattle), but can be found across the circumpolar Arctic much of the year.