PortraitBy most standards, Erwin Christian would be considered unconventional and, perhaps, even somewhat eccentric. As a very young man he followed his dreams from Düsseldorf to Paris to London and, eventually, to his first island: Bermuda. Although certainly not the ugliest spot in the world, there was always the beckoning horizon. When an opportunity arose to deliver a yacht bound for the South Seas, he signed on without hesitation, literally sailing off into the sunset. Nine months and many islands later he arrived in Tahiti with two Rolleiflex cameras, a Rolleimarin underwater housing and fifty dollars in his pocket.

As a trained hotelier speaking five languages, Erwin soon found himself working, first at Tahiti Village Hotel later at Hotel Tahiti. Moving to the island of Bora Bora, Erwin went into business for himself, opening Tahiti’s first nautical activities center which he ran for 28 years. Every two years or so he organized and led a small diving expedition to the virgin territories of the outer islands. He also married Até, a local beauty, and they now have three grown children.

During this time his cameras were always nearby and his photographs were published on postcards, posters, stamps, in magazines and in a dozen or so books. To better control the quality of his printed photographs, he founded Kea Editions and began publishing a new series of books in 1996, working very closely with Swiss master printers, Engadin Press. A fervent environmentalist, each title is a hymn to the fantastic, natural beauty of French Polynesia and an invitation to natives, visitors and anyone else to join Erwin Christian in his efforts to preserve this fragile last paradise.