Women shellfish divers do last minute prep on a rocky ledge just before entering the frigid waters on Jeju Island, S Korea. I went in first so I could see things from their view. I am a sandy beach guy and rocky water entries extremely difficult in strong currents. However, It’s just another day for these 60-80 yr old women who have been doing this since their early teens.#Jeju #Haenyeo #SouthKorea
Kimnyeong village Jeju Island. A lone Haenyeo on her own waits for a boat to pick her up. I finish tomorrow my essay here in South Korea. This project on the women free divers is nothing but inspirational. I am in gratitude for their hospitality and warmth. In the background here are electric power windmills. Mixing tradition with a new age. Two more pictures to post here and I am done. All here on Instagram? Absolutely not. Just a preview to what I hope will be a nice book and tribute to these strong women. #SouthKorea #Haenyeo #Jeju
One swim fin kick and a Haenyeo heads for the bottom. I am now starting to get into the water with these women free divers. In water and underwater photography is not my thing, yet I just cannot finish this essay without a few symbolic water shots. So with a too tight wetsuit, mask, and fins down I will go into the rocky depths with the mother & daughter from yesterday’s Instagram. I will use a scuba tank so I can stay down awhile and attempt what I generally leave for my underwater expert buddies at NatGeo to do. The ladies will be after octopus and abalone. I will mostly be in survival mode and trying to get a meaningful picture at the same time. That’s often the photographers life. I know I am in good hands.#SouthKorea #Haenyeo #Jeju
Mother and daughter free diving Haenyeo team. Kisoon Kim,65, gets an affectionate kiss from her daughter Kyungyok Kang, 35, who is by far the youngest Haenyeo I have come across. Mom has been diving for 50 years and daughter only 4. Kyungyok moved with her husband and 3 sons back to Jeju Island after living in Busan where she worked and was married. She came back to Jeju for a quieter simpler lifestyle to raise her sons and follow in her mother’s steps. I will go in the water with these women when they resume diving in a few days. I think I will be in good hands. #SouthKorea #Haenyeo #Jeju
Early morning carrot pickers gather around a bonfire to take off the chill from high winds and rain.These are the same Haenyeo women divers who when taking a diving break become farmers. The rich volcanic soil grows incredible sweet carrots and potatoes. I wish I could stay on the organic diet I have here of fresh veggies and shellfish. #SouthKorea #Haenyeo
Jeju Island #SouthKorea. Tourism has come to Jeju in a big way in recent years with mostly Korean and Chinese tourists often mixing with the Haenyeo women shellfish divers. Here Taesoon Kung, 74, doesn’t dive much anymore but will prepare you an amazing lunch of fresh out of the sea abalone , urchin and squid . A shot of soju to wash it down and I promise you a delight not equalled. Nope this is not a restaurant. Simply the Haenyeo hang spot. Not advertised nor promoted. You just gotta know. #Haenyeo
84 year old Chunsong Kang came out of the water this afternoon after 5 hours of scrambling 15 feet under water in a free dive in strong currents searching for abalone along the often treacherous rocky Korean coast. Jeju Island, long known for #women #wind, and #stones, has an austere beauty of landscape and people.
Group shots. Who doesn’t take them? Who isn’t in them? We know they are never “good pictures” yet we often treasure them above all else. I will certainly keep this. A small group of Haenyeo from Udo island who were so kind to me. I did drink too much soju at lunch but here in Korea “too much” is expected for the respected. #Haenyeo #SouthKorea
Volcanic rock fences are a key element of the landscape on Jeju Island. The Haenyeo free divers often work in these carrot fields when on a break from their diving as now. #Haenyeo #SouthKorea #Jeju #Island
Jumping from a fast moving boat, one of 20 women free divers takes the plunge. Some Haenyeo go from boats, some off the rocky beaches on Jeju Island, S Korea. After today the women take a break for a week. They need one. In the next days I will focus on their family lives, geography shots etc. #Haenyeo#SouthKorea #freediving
At the other end of these swim fins is a 76 year old woman. Diving for abalone on Jeju Island, S Korea. She is in a full on rubber wetsuit and has a line to the float which holds her bag net perhaps full with 40 pounds of shellfish after 6 hours in the sea. Koreans in general are a hardy breed to say the least, yet none more stalwart than these Haenyeo. #Haenyeo #SouthKorea #Jeju Island
Breakfast with Miju Lim produced this spontaneous “art object” . This is how she peeled her tangerine. Eastern art is Eastern art. Gotta love it. Miju is my fixer/translator now on Jeju Island, S Korea where I have a one month commission through Magnum and the Arts Council of Jeju to produce a b&w book and exhibit on the Haenyeo.. the women shellfish divers. A dying breed.