3 weeks ago
At eleven years old, steven r***h has already been a subsistence whaler for six years. he is the son of the whaling captain, and has over the years learned to conduct himself at camp on the sea ice. though it could not be further from playing a video game, steven loves learning to be a hunter.
this portrait is one of a series on an indigenous whaling crew from arctic alaska known as #yugucrew. in the past five years with yugu crew, i’ve gone from spending time with acquaintances to feeling a part of a family. together we’ve endured breaking sea ice. we survived a polar bear attack. we weathered botulism from spoiled meat. through all of it, i’ve been given the gift of a deeper understanding of iñupiaq culture, and the importance of the agviq, the bowhead whale, to the community. one symbol of the respect that the iñupiaq have for the whale is the adherence to wearing whaling parkas. these parkas are the traditional garment that offer camouflage on the sea ice – and a unified embrace of heritage handed down by past generations. aarigaa!