Haenyeo, Women Divers Of The Sea – Jeju Island, South Korea

Photography Project by Jose Jeuland
The Korean tradition of deep-sea diving for fresh seafood dates back to the 5th century. Initially, males dominated this profession. However by the 18th century, women divers, also known as Haenyeo (해녀) or “sea women” gradually became associated with this tradition. In November 2016, the Haenyo from Jeju Island, South Korea were inscribed in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

The Origins of The Haenyeo Women Divers – 해녀

The Haenyeo are best known as the female divers from Jeju Island. Without proper equipment, they dive into waters twenty meters deep to catch fresh seafood from the depths of the ocean. Equipped with only a lead-weighted vest and goggles, this women make dozens of dives a day while holding their breath for slightly more than two minutes at a time.
Diving as a Haenyeo is no mean feat – for the work is often backbreaking and dangerous. Due to the grueling nature of the work, the Sea Women portray a rich tradition that is slowly being eroded. Through mastering the craft over the years, many of them have replaced their husbands as the breadwinner of the household.

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Travel and Documentary Photography of the Haenyeo in Jeju Island, South Korea

Jose Jeuland set out to travel and document these women who have dedicated their lives to this craft. “In every photograph that I shoot, I try to encapsulate the essence of the Haenyeo. Some of the women of the sea are portrayed in monotone to help the audience feel emotions similar to what they often go through. Through these photographs, I want to help the audience experience and appreciate these women for they are the last generation of this Korean culture“, Jose Jeuland shared.
The most powerful imagery from the series are that of the close-up shots of their faces framed by goggles, wrinkled from being battered by the stormy waves and having weathered various hardships across the years. Through this series of photographs, Jose Jeuland hopes to share with others the values of dedication, grit and resilience in the face of adversity that the Haenyeo have come to represent.
Jose’s photography project on the Haenyeo Women Divers of the Sea has been featured in various printed and online media in the form of editorials and news articles.

Shop – Postcards: set of 5 Photographs

  • Haenyeo – Jeju Island, South Korea / Set of 5 Color Postcards

  • Haenyeo – Jeju Island, South Korea / Set of 5 Monochrome Postcards


Shop – Fine Art Photography Prints

  • Catch of the day – Haenyeo

  • Defining beauty – Haenyeo

  • Defying gravity – Haenyeo

  • Elegance – Haenyeo

  • Enduring in silence – Haenyeo

  • Exhaustion – Haenyeo

  • Gifts from the sea – Haenyeo

  • Hidden – Haenyeo

  • Oasis of serenity – Haenyeo

  • Pensive reflection – Haenyeo

  • Precision breeds perfection – Haenyeo

  • Preparing to take the plunge – Haenyeo


Reference Print:
Fine Art Standard using Epson SureColor printer
Limited Edition, delivered with a certificate of authencity and signed by the photographer Jose Jeuland.

(More information on the Fine Art Prints page)

Past Photography Exhibition

In October 2017, Jose held almost a month-long photography exhibition hosted by The Fullerton Hotel Singapore on the Haenyeo Women Divers of The Sea.

The Fullerton Hotel, an organisation that has consistently shown strong support for the arts, was proud to be the venue sponsor for Jose’s photography exhibition on the Haenyeo Women Divers.

The photography exhibition was organized by COCO PR & Communications in Singapore.

Please follow this link for more news, information and media publicity the photography exhibition on the Haenyeo Women generated. https://www.josejeuland.com/exhibition-haenyeo-singapore/

Poster Haenyeo Photo Exhibition jose jeuland sinagpore

Press enquiries and Photography Exhibition Project about the Haenyeo of Jeju Island in South Korea:

To contact Jose regarding his photography projects, commissioning new photography projects, contributions to editorials or other matters, you may reach him through the contact page or through his Creative Studio arm at studio@cococreativestudio.com.