Sven Kirsten was born in 1955 in the port town of Hamburg, Germany. He was supposedly conceived on a freighter of his grandfather's Hamburg-Chicago line between America and Germany (those were long trips). The sailor's bars of the Reeperbahn red light district and the curiosities of the Hamburg Anthropology Museum formed the fertile soil to inspire Sven to follow the call to other distant shores in 1980.

After a brief stint at the San Francisco Art Institute, he continued his education as cinematographer at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. Here he fell in love with the aesthetic extremes of L.A. In parallel to lighting and shooting music videos and features with Tom Waits, Sergio Mendes or Robert De Niro, he began to pursue his hobby of urban archeology. Over the last ten years he has photographed and collected the remnants of the vanishing Tiki cult in America. He hopes that his Book of Tiki adequately represents the visual seductiveness of this unique, never-before-recognized facet of American pop culture. When not shooting cable TV movies in Europe, Sven lives with his 9 year old son, Diego, in his hilltop home overlooking the Silverlake reservoir in the center of Los Angeles.

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