Mogens Trolle is a Danish zoologist turned wildlife photographer. He has worked with wildlife for over 25 years and on all seven continents. After having conducted mammal research in South America for a period of years he became a dedicated wildlife photographer and has photographed mammals extensively in Africa and Asia for more than a decade.
He specializes in close-ups of mammals, zooming in on their faces and letting the viewer look deep into their eyes – hence the name of his ongoing photo project, ‘Eye Contact’. The major focus of his photography over the last five years has been primates of Africa and Asia. His primate portraits showcase micro-expressions that look like the kind we are used to seeing on humans. Through this, Mogens Trolle aims to show the primates as individuals with feelings, moods, empathy and personality and, ultimately, to create a sensation of connection.
Mandrill alpha male from the wild (Gabon, Central Africa)
Born in Denmark, Mogens Trolle’s passion for wildlife was spurred when he as a young man while travelling around South America was offered a job as a guide in the Pantanal wetlands of Brazil, the best place on the continent to see wildlife. He ended up living in the Pantanal for two years, getting involved with wildlife research and conservation projects. Ever since, wildlife has been the focal point of his career.
Mogens Trolle holds a master’s degree in biology, zoology and mammalogy (the study of mammals) from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark and the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. For a number of years, he conducted mammal research in unexplored areas of the Amazon and the Pantanal, pioneering the use of camera traps for scientific purposes in South America, studying species like ocelot, puma, maned wolf and tapir, and discovering a new species of deer in the rainforest of Peru.
Proboscis monkey zen mode (Borneo)
In 2004 he began working fulltime with public engagement, ‘wildlife communication’ and wildlife photography, among others leading wildlife trips across the globe (including to Africa, Madagascar, South America and Antarctica) and publishing books on the wildlife of the Galapagos, Africa and Greenland, respectively (the two former being illustrated to a large extend by his own photos). Since 2008 he has been employed at the Natural History Museum of Denmark where he works with science communication and exhibition development.
In 2013 he moved to Africa to spend a whole year photographing wildlife in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. During this year, he became fascinated with taking portraits of mammals focusing on their facial expressions and eyes. This resulted in a large photo exhibition in Denmark, ‘Eye Contact – Portraits of African Wildlife’.
Mogens Trolle has continued his Eye Contact project and the quest for capturing the ‘soul’ of the animals he photographs. For the last five years he has specialized in primates and this has brought him to destinations as diverse as Gabon, Ethiopia, China, Vietnam, Borneo, Sulawesi and Japan.
All of the primates he has photographed are threatened and many are not well known to the public, and Mogens Trolle uses his portraits to shine a light on these species, hoping that his project will help inspire people to support conservation efforts.
Wildlife of Africa (published in Denmark and Sweden; 1st edition 2010, 2nd expanded edition 2019)
Wildlife of Greenland (published in Denmark; 2012)
Wildlife of the Galapagos (published in Denmark; 2008)
100 Fantastic Animals (children’s book; published in Denmark and Sweden; 2007)
Eye Contact – Portraits of African Wildlife (Zoological Museum and Valdemar Castle, Denmark 2014)
Wildlife of Africa (Naturama Natural History Museum, Denmark 2012)