Eye Contact

This exhibition zooms in on the faces and eyes of our closest relatives, the other primates. They are highly intelligent, aware and empathic. And they have emotions very similar to ours and the same number of facial muscles to express their emotions ... Read More

Mogens Trolle

Mogens Trolle is a Danish mammal researcher turned wildlife photographer and the winner of the Animal Portraits category of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020 competition.

His passion for wildlife was spurred when he as a young man while t... Read More

Eye Contact

This exhibition zooms in on the faces and eyes of our closest relatives, the other primates. They are highly intelligent, aware and empathic. And they have emotions very similar to ours and the same number of facial muscles to express their emotions with as we do. All this leads to an endless variety of facial ‘micro-expressions’, many recognizable, some quite alien. Not only does each species have its own characteristics, but each individual also has its own character. Capturing the unique personalities of primates in the wild has been the aim of Mogens Trolle’s photographic project “Primate Eye Contact”.

With a background as a zoologist and mammal researcher, Danish wildlife photographer Mogens Trolle has worked with and photographed animals for more than 25 years and on all seven continents. Since 2014 he has focused on primates and this has brought him on photographic trips to the jungles of Gabon, Uganda, Borneo, Sulawesi, Vietnam and India as well as the mountains of Ethiopia, China and Japan, the latter covered in deep snow. This selection of 26 portraits is the result of countless hours of sitting patiently and quietly close to primates in their natural habitat, documenting how their faces and eyes change expressions as they observe each other, interact or become introvert.

The images are made poignant when you learn that almost all of the primates depicted are endangered due to the habitat destruction and hunting. Mogens Trolle uses his portraits to shine a light on these species, many of which are not well known to the public.

Mogens Trolle

Mogens Trolle is a Danish mammal researcher turned wildlife photographer and the winner of the Animal Portraits category of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020 competition.

His 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.

In 2004 he began working full-time with public engagement, ‘wildlife communication’ and wildlife photography, among others leading wildlife trips across the globe (including to Africa, Madagascar, South America, Antarctica and Australia) 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 photographic project and the quest for capturing the unique personalities of the animals he photographs. For the last six years, he has specialized in primates and this has brought him to destinations as diverse as Gabon, Ethiopia, India, China, Vietnam, Borneo, Sulawesi and Japan. During this period, he has taken around 40,000 portraits of primates in the wild, one of which, an image of a proboscis monkey, became the winner of the Animal Portraits category of the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition in 2020.

Most of the primates Mogens Trolle has photographed are threatened and many are not well known to the public, and he uses his portraits to shine a light on these species, hoping that his project will help inspire people to care for them and support conservation efforts.