Format unique : 80X120 cm
Edition de 5 (+ 1 EA)
Tirage en vente : N°1/5 : 2200€
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Un mot sur l'oeuvre
Jeju island, known for its characteristic basalt volcanic rock, sits off South Korea. It is the home of the renowned Haenyeo or women of the sea who free dive off the black shores of Jeju harvesting delicacies from the sea. Wearing thin rubber suits and old fashioned goggles, this aging group of women are celebrated as a national treasure and inscribed on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, but the tradition is slowly fading as fewer women choose this extremely hazardous profession. Today, the majority of Haenyeo are over the age of 50 and many are well over 70. In a society obsessed with education, the future of this physically arduous activity would appear bleak, and yet… Efforts by the government and local communities to preserve and promote this ecological and sustainable lifestyle have brought renewed interest from young people disillusioned with urban life and eager to return to their roots. It is perhaps a renaissance.
Le témoignage d'Alain Schroeder
For this serie, I decided to do the portraits in front of a black background. The idea - black on black - was to block all distractions. In the case of the Haenyeo, it was particularly effective in emphasizing their physical characteristics and their typical gestures.
Once on the background I asked them to do what they usually do : adjust their suits and masks, simply show their catch (octopus, abalone, ...) or explain their work under water. These distractions made them feel comfortable for a few seconds in front of the camera.
Soon Hwa Kim, 71 years old comes from Myeonsu-dong village. She has been diving 60 years catching marine delicacies such as rockfish, sea cucumber, octopus and sea urchin. She pours fresh water over and inside her wetsuit to remove it. The water prevents the rubber of the suit from tearing.