Tom Svensson – Illuminating injustices against nature and animals

A leopard lounging on a tree branch.

Nature conservation and the fight against injustices to animals takes many forms. For Tom Svensson photographing wild animals safe in their natural habitat is a way to showcase the world how things should be and could be, but very rarely is. The world’s leopard populations are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation.

Tom Svensson is a conservation photographer specialised in working against illegal trade. He wants to fight against the injustices and the horrors carries out against animals around the world. As his weapon are striking images of the majestic animals shot in their natural environment, protected and respected.

For Tom, the passion towards photography doesn’t come from the equipment, and the amazing technology inside the little magic boxes. It is rather embedded in what he can achieve with the camera. He didn’t fall in love with pretty pictures, but with the realisation that he could use photographs as a way to influence people and the world around him. He sees photography as a powerful means of getting his message out there, to speak on behalf of endangered animals and get people to react and governments to see what is going on.

Tom had been working for a non-government organization for 14 years, when he decided he needed to do something more – to achieve more in terms of nature conservation. After a while, he decided that becoming a professional conservation photographer was the way forward for him. He had a plan and the connections that would help him get an income from it.

One of the defining moments of his career was when he managed to get photos and film of illegal trade done with rhino horns in Myanmar, or Burma. He was using hidden cameras and a small pocket camera borrowed from Canon.

Tom Svensson with Canon EOS camera
Tom Svensson, 56
Born in Denmark, living in Sweden
Conservation photographer
“To make a difference is what this job is all about for me”
Instagram: @tomsvensson1
Facebook: tomsvensson.conservation

With a serious subject matter at hand Tom’s aim is to take powerful images that captivate the audience. He creates drama and tension by intentionally underexposing images: “I love dark, underexposed photos with light on the subject. I make sure that the light hits the subject’s face and illuminates the eyes, then I underexpose the image, but mindfully in terms of how dark the background actually is.”

Tom’s ultimate photographic goal is to get a photo that will finally make people in charge and politicians to wake up and do something about the situation.

Tom Svensson’s kitbag

Tom Svensson’s favourite gear includes Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, EOS R5, EOS R, EOS 5DS, EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM, EF 11-24mm f/4L USM, EF 17-40mm f/4L USM, RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM, RF 70-200MM F2.8L IS USM, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM, EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM, RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM, EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x as well as Canon Extenders 1.4x and 2z.

Tom Svensson’s kitbag containing Canon EOS R5, lenses and accessories.