The latest generation of Korean mermaids
• The latest generation of Korean mermaids
Korean tradition deep-sea diving for oysters, sea cucumbers, Abalone, sea urchins and squid goes back to the V century BC. Initially, it was a male profession, which is not surprising. However, in the XVIII century diver, who were called Haenyeo, or "sea women", it is much more than the divers.
Diving - it's not easy. Haenyeo were lowered to twenty meters into the icy water without any equipment, holding his breath for more than two minutes. Achieving perfection in this skill, many women become the main breadwinner of the family, replacing their husbands.
In 2016 Haenyeo tradition still exists, although it is unlikely she left to live for a long time. Photographer from New York Michzho Kim decided to capture the persistent women who dedicated their lives to the skill of diving. "These diver stored Korean heritage - they are the last generation Haenyeo", - says the photographer.
The younger generation of Koreans who grew up on the island, where he once lived Haenyeo now moved to the mainland, trying to get an education or a more modern profession. In 2010, most of the vanishing populations Haenyeo was older than 70 years, and the next generation of women do not teach skills, so there is no one to replace them.
Kim from South Korea, too. It examines the art of photography as a tool for the story of their cultural heritage. She was particularly impressed Haenyeo that, despite the antiquity of the tradition and strict professional ethics, are little known outside the country.
To remove this photo shoot was not easy. Kim had to get up about four in the morning to accompany Haenyeo in their travels to the underwater world. She spent on the road for two hours to reach by car in winter to County Gijang County, where in 2013, for example, the temperature dropped to two degrees below zero. But winter - a season of sea urchins, and at this time Haenyeo go hunting.
"The first day I tried to take a picture under water, and it was the hardest day of shooting. I thought I was a good swimmer. Still I was very confident and excited about the opportunity to shoot under water, but there is not an easy situation. I could not even keep up with them. They were like a young mermaid, are fast and flexible. I do not see any sea urchin, because they are like stones "in the water.
The resulting Kim series of images shows Haenyeo directly in and after diving, the intensity of the mode and their emotions. On the faces of mermaids in tight diving suits clearly readable fatigue, and in their eyes there are tears.
"I want to share not only their feminine beauty, but also the courage with which they meet life's challenges," - says the photographer. She hopes to continue to shoot Haenyeo, the next time you go to South Korea.