Zena Holloway is an underwater photographer and director. Her work deviates from the stereotypical directness associated with underwater photography, as she strives to push the boundaries of her imagination and the limits of creativity. The result is truly magical imagery that has resulted in worldwide acclaim.

“Water has enabled me to fly with eagle rays, dance with dolphins and come face to face with some particularly spectacular sharks. I’ve uncovered 18th century skeletons, and priceless antiquities, hitchhiked on submarines and taught a few mermaids how to pose along the way. I like to think of the water as my canvas and the light as the paint. My goal is always to find the heart of every project and allow the water to bring the magic.”

Follow Us

Copyright 2016 Zena Holloway
All Rights Reserved

Flowers for Jeju : The Last Mermaids

"I pull the hood over my white hair and adjust my mask. I enter the water. I am young again - Janet Hong

Sea Women

They are part of a tradition that has been passed down from mother to daughter for a 1000 years. They are the Korean mermaids, or the haenyeo, of Jeju Island who venture into frigid depths of up to 20 meters without any breathing equipment, braving the dangers of the ocean, as they scour the seabed for abalone, octopus, and other seafood.

The Quality of the Ocean is Deteriorating Rapidly

The haenyeo believe we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, but that we borrow it from our children. Fierce guardians of the sea, they only harvest what they can carry with their two hands, but sadly they are a dying breed. The patterns they used to work are breaking. The quality of the ocean is deteriorating rapidly, and despite protests, the construction of a new naval base is under way, which further threatens the island’s marine ecology.

"We go to the Otherworld to earn money, and return to the earthly world to save our kids" - Haenyeo Proverb

Guardians of the Sea

These sirens hang weightless, deep in the ocean, on the threshold between this world and the next. They are a vessel for stories that span generations, timeless stories that tell of suffering and survival, but most of all, love. In the end, what rises to the surface is the unflinching love they carry for the sea and the legacy that we are leaving for our children. It weaves a human story that swims against the tide.

“Tears streaming from her eyes, the old haenyeo ventures back into the same waves her dead daughter rose up on after getting her foot caught in seaweed while diving.” - Koh Hee Young

Flowers for Jeju

the last mermaids