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Food Photography

The Breathless Grit and Determination of South Korea’s Iconic Female Divers Are Captured in Life-Size Portraits by Hyung S. Kim

July 14, 2020

Grace Ebert

Her Kyungsuk, Hamo Jeju (2014). All images © Hyung S. Kim, shared with permission

Between 2012 and 2014, Seoul-based photographer Hyung S. Kim frequently visited Jeju Island, which lies off the southern coast of South Korea, to document the impressive women carrying on a centuries-old practice. Named the haenyeo—which literally translates to ocean women—the iconic divers harvest shellfish and other sea life without oxygen, requiring that they hold their breath for up to three minutes while plunging 10 meters underwater. Today, many have surpassed age sixty: the youngest diver Kim photographed was 38 at the time, while the oldest was more than 90.

Captured just after they exited the water, Kim’s life-size portraits situate the women against a stark, white backdrop, which emphasizes their dirt-speckled shoes and wet, shining gear. Their equipment includes a tewak, the orange sphere slung over some of their shoulders, that floats at the surface during each dive and lead weights attached to their waists to hasten the descent.

“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,” Kim explained in an interview with The New Yorker immediately following the series’ release.” I wanted to capture this extreme duality of the women: their utmost strength combined with human fragility.”

In 2016, the haenyeo were added to the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage as the number of divers has dwindled from around 20,000 in the 1960s to just 2,500 in recent years. Although the work was male-dominated originally, it began to reflect the semi-matriarchal society of the Jeju by the 18th century and continues to be led by women today.

Explore the full collection of Kim’s portraits and see where the remarkable series will be exhibited next by following the photographer on Instagram. You also might enjoy Kimi Werner’s short film documenting her visit to Jeju Island.

 

Kim Julja, Dodu Jeju (2013)

Left: Hyun Okwoo, Onpyeong Jeju (2014). Right: Hyun Soonok, Hwasun Jeju (2013)

Hyun Okran, Onpyeong Jeju (2014)

Left: Kim Sanok, Hamo Jeju (2014). Right: Oh Bonghee, Hwasun Jeju (2013)

Lee Hwaju, Hamo Jeju (2014)

 

 



Amazing Science

Deep-Sea Exploration in the Ningaloo Canyons Unveils Gripping Footage of Undiscovered Aquatic Life

May 26, 2020

Grace Ebert

Plunge into the serene depths of the Indian Ocean through new 4K footage from the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s recent dive into the Ningaloo Canyons off the western coast of Australia. Previously unseen by researchers, the exploration captures aquatic life and swaths of the seafloor that have gone unexplored for years. Spanning 180 hours in total, the underwater adventure led to the discovery of more than 30 new aquatic species, in addition to the longest animal ever recorded. A member of the Apolemia genus, the record-breaking organism reaches an unprecedented 154 feet.

The humanless dive used the ROV Sebastian, a robotic underwater vehicle that can bear the pressure of 14,750 feet below water for lengthy durations, far more than people are capable of. See more of the institute’s mesmerizing videos on YouTube and find an extensive collection of deep-sea footage on its site. (via PetaPixel)

 

 

 



Science

Underwater Footage Captures a Blanket Octopus Revealing Her Billowing Iridescent Membrane

February 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

In a short clip captured during a blackwater night dive in the Lembeh Strait, a blanket octopus unfolds and displays a colorful web multiple times her original size. The aquatic animal’s iridescent body and tentacles glow against the nighttime water before she releases her translucent blanket that connects her dorsal and dorsolateral arms. Only adult females are equipped with the lengthy membrane that reaches as long as six feet and dwarfs male octopi, which are less than an inch in size and most often die immediately after mating. Generally, the females only unfurl their color-changing blankets to appear larger and more intimidating to potential predators. Shared by NAD Lembeh Resort, the underwater video was taken on a RED Gemini with a 50 millimeter Zeiss Macro lens. You might also want to check out this footage of a blanket octopus in waters near the Philippines. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

 



Science

Striped Eel Catfish Traverse the Ocean Floor as a Strategically Rotating Mass

January 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

For young striped eel catfish, there really is safety in numbers. A recent Instagram post shares a video by Marie-Laure Vergne of about one hundred juvenile fish moving across the bottom of the ocean. The Abyss Dive Center, a scuba diving school located in Amed, Bali, explains in the post that until the fish are fully grown and gain all of their deadly capabilities, they protect themselves by swimming in dense groups. Similar to other catfish, this species has four pairs of barbels on the upper and lower jaws. In their pectoral and first dorsal fins, though, the fish have a highly venomous, and sometimes fatal, spine.

As suggested by The Kids Should See This, the aquatic animals appear to take turns as they move, diving toward the bottom before appearing back at the top only to repeat the cycle. If you focus on one of the fish’s movements, you’ll spot the undulating pattern. The dive center does have a cautionary tip for anyone who encounters the phenomenon: “The young ones can only produce a mild version of the venom, tingling the fingers of the people putting their hands in the school (which we don’t recommend you do! ).”

 

 



Photography

Stunning Photographs from 2019 Ocean Art Contest Explore Depths of Aquatic Life Around the World

January 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Crab-Eater Seal” by Greg Lecoeur, Best of Show. All images © Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition 2019, shared with permission

A 2019 contest organized by the Underwater Photography Guide has collected some of the best photographs of aquatic life around the globe, from an image capturing a seal maneuvering through a chunk of ice in Antarctic waters to another depicting an octopus resting on the ocean floor. This year’s Ocean Art Underwater Photo Contest drew thousands of entires from 78 countries that were judged by renowned underwater photographers Tony Wu, Martin Edge, and Marty Snyderman, along with Underwater Photography Guide publisher Scott Gietler. It also handed out more than $85,000 to entrants.

We’ve included some of our favorite photographs from across the 17 categories, including marine life behavior, portrait, conservation, and reefscapes, although a full list of winners can be found on the contest’s site. Stay tuned for information on the 2020 contest in September.

“Biodiversity” by Greg Lecoeur, Reefscapes

“Gigantic Aggregation of Munk Devil Rays in Baja California Sur” by Jason Clue, Marine Life Behavior

“Larval tripod fish” by Fabien Michenet, Blackwater

“Radiography” by Stefano Cerbai, Macro

“Strange Encounters” by Hannes Klostermann, Marine Life Behavior

“A friendly ride” by Paula Vianna, Marine Life Behavior

“Leopard Shark” by Jake Wilton, Novice Wide Angle

“Treats from Maloolaba River” by Jenny Stock, Nudibranchs

“Coconut Octopus” by Enrico Somogyi, Compact Wide Angle

“The Hypnotist” by Dave Johnson, Macro

“Eye of the Tornado” by Adam Martin, Wide Angle

“Under the Pier” by Jose Antonio Castellano, Wide Angle

 

 



Amazing Design Science

System 001: An Innovative Design to Remove Plastic From the Ocean has Been Deployed off the Coast of California

October 26, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Founded in 2013 by 18-year-old (at the time) inventor Boyan Slat, The Ocean Cleanup is a nonprofit organization that’s working to clean up our oceans by removing plastic. After five years of rigorous design and testing, the Cleanup’s cleaning apparatus, called System 001, has been deployed off the coast of California.

System 001 is a passive collection apparatus that works by moving in tandem with the ocean’s currents, taking advantage of the water’s circular movement patterns, called gyres, that cause the trash to accumulate in the first place. The Ocean Cleanup points out that 92% of the debris in the Patch is still large enough to be collected using the System’s large suspended net, and it’s critical to remove this plastic now before it degrades into microplastics that enter the food chain. Because of the net’s passive, slow-moving design, the group has reported that it has not caused animals to get caught, presumably because they have sufficient time and space to navigate away from the debris-funneling nets.

While the organization has global aspirations and an international team (the founder is Dutch), their first focus is on the massive Pacific Garbage Patch, which floats in the ocean between California and Hawaii. The Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest aquatic aggregation of trash in the world, first recognized thirty years ago. It is estimated to contain about 80,000 metric tons of garbage spanning 5.2 billion square feet (nearly a million square miles). Ocean Cleanup’s boat, the Maersk Launcher, towed the System 1,200 miles from Alameda to begin its work.

You can see a live update of the System’s location and learn more about The Ocean Cleanup on the organization’s website, as well as on Twitter and Instagram.