Sunday, May 23, 2010

PHOTOGRAPHY Hunters Of The Far North: Eskimo & Aleut by Kiyoshi Yagi

Hunters Of The Far North: #Eskimo & #Aleut by Kiyoshi Yagi
#Siberia #Alaska #Canada #Greenland

[excerpt, see photos at the above URL]

He works in a manner that has completely disappeared in my part of the world, photographing on 8 by 10 inch sheet film – the size of a magazine page – and printing them on hand coated paper.

Eskimo and Aleut, by Kiyoshi Yagi

The Eskimo and the Aleut, the hunters of the far north, reside across four countries from the Chukotka Peninsula in Siberia (Russia), through Alaska (U.S.A.) and Canada, to Greenland (Denmark). They live mainly along the coast and partly in inland mountain country of Arctic Alaska and Canada. The Aleut live in Komandorskie Ostrova in Siberia and the Aleutian Islands in the southwest of Alaska.

Existing beyond the most distant horizons of most of earth's inhabitants, the cultures of these native peoples are under unprecedented pressure from the outside world. They have experienced dramatic social changes within the last half century and also significant decline in the number of people who can speak their first languages.

The prohibition of speaking any native languages started at school from the beginning through to the middle of the 20th century in most areas of the north of America to assimilate the Native people. Consequently, the English language has become the major language for young people, and today many of them have difficulties in communicating with their elders who are, on the other hand, unable to understand English. If this pattern continues, it is only a matter of time until their native languages and cultural values completely disappear. Without their native languages the youth are in danger of losing a significant part of their cultural identity.

I have started traveling to Native villages with my 8×10 large format camera to photograph northern hunters in the family portrait style since 1994. I always include more than three or more generations to capture diverse values and historical backgrounds in one frame. The vast northern landscape and still life such as hunting equipment are also vital part in my project to show how people are dependent upon the harsh northern environment that surrounds them. The 8×10 inch negatives are printed on hand coated platinum-palladium papers that have rich tonal range and superb storage stability. It is my ultimate goal to complete my project by uniting Eskimo and Aleut people irrespective of national boundaries.