Björn Persson is a wildlife photographer and advocate for the protection of endangered species in Africa. Born in Sweden in 1972, his interest in photography began when he was about seven years old. He did not become a professional photographer until he was in his 40s.
Persson worked in marketing for much of his adult life. “That’s been a very useful skill for communicating my work.” he said, “A lot of photographers have amazing photos, but aren’t sure how to spread the word and talk about themselves.”
It was a personal crisis, about fifteen years ago, that first brought him to South Africa. He hoped the trip would help him get over his grief. While he was in South Africa he had a close encounter with a lion. It wasn’t a frightening encounter, but a comforting one. “I’ll never forget one moment where I felt I had a connection with a lion.” he said, “It was a very emotional moment. My whole life turned around after that meeting. So I have a very close relationship to lions. Seeing and photographing them really fulfils my heart.”
While in South Africa, Persson attended a wildlife ranger course at the Timbavati Game Reserve. He learned about antipoaching and other conservation and protection measures.
Persson published his first book of photographs, The Real Owners of the Planet, in 2019. He donated 40 per cent of profits from the book to the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, in Hoedspruit, South Africa, to help renovate an old veterinary clinic. The clinic is in the area where he did his ranger course.
Beauty Will Save the World is Persson’s second book, published in 2020, and a third volume of his photographs is in the works.
His photographs capture the beauty, awareness and personalities of each animal. He views his work as that of a photographer and an artist. “To save the wild animals,” he says, “we first need to love, understand and respect them.”
Persson founded the non profit foundation Here Forever, with the vision of, “increasing the awareness of wildlife conservation related matters, and inspire people to engage.” He is also the chairman of Smart Savannahs a Swedish based nonprofit organization, started in 2014. The research project is supported by Linköping University, with the aim of using state of the art technology and community work to fight poaching and trafficking of wild animals in Kenya.
The Thin Line, an exhibit of Persson’s photographs was on display at the Natural History Museum of Sweden in 2021. His photographs have also been featured in National Geographic, Africa Geographic, Vagabond, Digital Camera, Wildlife and other publications.
He has had exhibitions in Italy, Paris, London, Australia, Scandinavia, the Middle East and the United States. He is represented by VFA in Florida.
When he isn’t traveling the world to photograph wildlife, Björn Persson lives in Stockholm.
Graeme Green. Wildlife photographer Björn Persson on how to save the planet a shot at a time. Digital Camera World. May 24, 2021.
The Snow Leopard Conservancy. Through the Eyes of the Wildlife Photographer. May 2017.