The Ama are predominantly female pearl divers from Japan, although their breed is dying out–although new Ama continue to be trained, it is now seen as a grandmother’s job. In a tradition purported to be 2,000 years old, the Ama dived in nothing but a loincloth up until the 1960s. Today, they wear a wetsuit at most. Although this is generally not one’s only job, it is a job that lasts a lifetime–the older divers are reputed to be able to dive the longest.
More can be read about them here, although I prefer to study the images of the Ama through the lens of photographer Yoshiyuki Iwase:
The nude female form in these photographs is presented with awe; their musculature seems asexual in this photo–almost a meditation on human strength. Whereas this:
is a dead ringer for contemporary Western pinup photography. It’s an interesting, mismatched photo series as a whole.
See them all here.