For hundreds of years, women in the South Korean island province of Jeju have made their living harvesting seafood by hand from the ocean floor. Known as haenyeo, or sea women, they use no breathing equipment, although a typical dive might last around two minutes and take them as deep as ten metres underwater. Wearing old-fashioned
headlight-shaped scuba masks, most dive with lead weights strapped
around their waists to help them sink faster.
“For me, the photos of the haenyeo reflect and overlap with the images I have of my mother and grandmother,” Kim says. “They are shown exactly as they are, tired and breathless. But, at the same time, they embody incredible mental and physical stamina, as the work itself is so dangerous; every day they cross the fine line between life and death. I wanted to capture this extreme duality of the women: their utmost strength combined with human fragility.”