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Ryan Borne


Behind the Shot

The Tuamotus Archipelago is a stunning chain of nearly 80 French Polynesian islands and atolls in the Southern Pacific Ocean. In this protected paradise, spectacular sea life thrives in a warm, crystal-clear ocean, and swaying coconut palms line the sandy beaches.

The area impresses divers with its plunging coral reefs—living, breathing, growing organisms that protect the islands. Sadly, they are at risk of disappearing if they are not preserved and safeguarded. 

Ryan Borne works with Coral Gardeners, an organization that strives to save the world’s coral reefs through restoration, education and other innovative solutions. While on an expedition to Tikehau—an atoll of the Tuamotus Archipelago—Ryan and his team befriended fishermen who lived in little shacks like the one he photographed in November 2021.

“They were very receptive and willing to learn about what they could do to protect their ecosystem because they rely on it for their food,” says Ryan.

In the 1700s, French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville nicknamed the Tuamotus “the Dangerous Archipelago” due to the shallow, sharp reefs that surround the atolls. This print evokes the somewhat dangerous and hostile environment of these islands—where people live just a few feet above sea level. It also immerses the viewer into the pristine natural beauty of a speck of land isolated in the middle of the sea.

Note: This artist’s photo editing style may result in some mild graininess in all print sizes.