“This image comes from my time diving with the ama (female free divers), in the town of Toba in June 2014. I had been traversing the country documenting craftsmanship with a particular focus on people keeping traditional techniques alive in an increasingly modern, single-serve world. The ama once represented a vibrant culture of freediving women, first for pearls and then for high-value seafood like abalone and sea urchin. Today, a handful of women in their 60s and 70s still practice this intense, dangerous job. I was immediately enamored with them. They welcomed me into the water as I dove with them to make images such as this one. After the dive, we spent the afternoon in their clubhouse, grilling part of the catch as they shared stories about their lives what it means to be guardians of a millennia old tradition.”
- Michael Magers
About the artist
Born in Dallas in 1976, Michael Magers is a documentary photographer and journalist whose work takes him all over the world. From deep dives into international food cultures to intimate views into the ateliers of traditional artisans, Magers imbues each photograph with a story. In 2013, he stepped back from a corporate career to hone a more creative life and pursue his passion for photography. Based between New York City and Austin, Texas, Michael Magers is a frequent collaborator with the highly acclaimed team at Roads & Kingdoms and served as the lead photographer on their award-winning travel books Rice Noodle Fish (2015) and Grape Olive Pig (2016) published by Harper Collins/Anthony Bourdain. His work has been exhibited internationally–from Cuba to Japan, Paris to New York–and appeared in a wide range of digital and print publications including TIME, Smithsonian, CNN, and The Washington Post, to name just a few. In 2019, he released his first monograph, Independent Mysteries, a selection images from his years on the road juxtaposed with original writing from his friends and collaborators.