Eric Madeja's thoughts on his life and the state of the ocean


Film & TV Location Fixer | Environmental Photographer | Expedition Leader

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Professional Summary

eric madeja
Thanks for visiting my website! Let me introduce myself.

I’m a Film & TV Location Manager and Fixer, award-winning Photographer and Expedition Leader, as well as an Underwater Camera Operator, Cruise Director, Diving & Photography Instructor, Conservationist, Ocean Explorer, Naturalist, Book Author and husband to a lovely wife and father to two beautiful daughters.

Apart from that, I’m the founder and Executive Director of ConnectOcean Asia Pacific, a multifaceted business founded on environmentally and socially responsible business practices. We develop, manage and lead Citizen Science, Outreach and Photography Expeditions to all Coral Triangle countries (Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands). I also offer advice and provide personalised arrangements for anyone wanting to discover the marine environment of the region from a different perspective.

Our Film & TV production support business is fully licenced and marketed under the brands and AsiaFixer.TV. We provide full-service location support (film fixer services) for International broadcast productions, journalists and professional photographers in Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.

I have co-authored “The Coral Triangle” Book and, aiming at raising awareness about the importance, unique ecology and conservation efforts within the Coral Triangle region.

I’m based in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysian Borneo, at the heart of the Coral Triangle.

Personal Reflection

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As long as I can remember the marine environment has had a positive impact on my "walk through life", or maybe I should rather call it "dive through life". At an early age, the intriguing underwater world woke my passion for photography and my interest in natural history, and years later it also set the stage for some of the most defining moments of my life (of which I might tell you more when we should have the chance to cross paths one day).

This might seem surprising for someone that grew up in mountainous and land-locked Switzerland. I believe the seed for my passion towards anything marine-related was planted during my childhood by my parents who took me and my older brother every year on lengthy "Robinson Crusoe" style island exploration trips (at least that's how we perceived it at the time) to the Kornati archipelago, in the Adriatic Sea, then part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and today Croatia.

Later in my life, the prospect of exploring one of the largest tropical marine ecosystems and diving the world’s best reefs lured me to South East Asia. It was through observation and interaction with the local people that I learned to love and understand the region’s diverse cultures and environments. After years of touring the islands of the Coral Triangle, I finally settled with my family in Sabah, Malaysian-Borneo, the place I call now home for more than 20 years.

I am fascinated by the beauty, power and resilience of the sea. It's mind-blowing biodiversity and incredible resilience never fails to amaze me. By resilience I mean the fact, that even after decades of over-exploitation, pollution, coastal development, destructive fishing, resource wastage and natural disasters of increasing strength and occurrence, it surprisingly still helps to feed many of the more than half billion people in this region.

There might be a chance that we underestimate the ability and pace of nature to adapt to these most difficult challenges humankind throws in its way and we probably could still go on with the same unsustainable practices for some time, but can we take that chance? I have always been keen to explore every aspect of marine conservation, listen to everyone’s point of view, and to document the causes and effects of man-made and natural events on the environment and humanity, all to help me and others understand the larger picture and ultimately point new generations towards an environmentally sustainable society.

As a resident photographer and filmmaker specialising in the aquatic realm, I am often invited to document the work of NGO's, conservationists and researchers. I provide location support for film crews interested in the activities of sea-going communities and the region’s marine and terrestrial flora and fauna. I do work with parties from the private seafood sector and various government agencies. And I also manage and coordinate CSR and marine conservation efforts for corporate clients.

What struck me most while working with people from all kind of backgrounds is the incredibly large range of opinions and interests when it comes to natural resource use. Consumerism, greed, the apparent need for prestige and a romantically inflected vision of conservation have made parts of society drift incessantly further apart from finding common ground with people trying to make a simple livelihood. If not halted, this widening gap might become one of the major obstructions for effective, balanced and productive conservation efforts in the future.

Over the years I have met many passionate and inspiring people working towards a meaningful and sustainable resource use. I’m sanguine about the prospect that by compromising on our views, ideals and lifestyles, we can and will find ways to create dignified living conditions for everyone on this planet while maintaining an ecological balance.
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My first ventures into the aquatic realm (1978?)
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Documenting the underwater world (1994 - Today)
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Introducing my daughters to the wonders of the ocean (2003)