Mattias Klum was born in Uppsala, Sweden in 1968 and started taking pictures in his teens. He has worked full-time as a freelance photographer since 1986, and as a cinematographer and director on numerous film and television projects since 1994. In an artistic way that is entirely his own, Klum describes and portrays animals, plants, and natural and cultural settings in the form of articles, books, films, lectures and exhibitions.
Klum’s film credits include: Borneo’s Rainforest and The Brittle Thread, a documentary about Asia’s last lions, Searching for the Giant Sea Eagle, a Wild Chronicles segment for National Geographic Channel; and The Linnaeus Expedition together with producer Folke Rydén. Klum with team has been working with the music video project Funk for Life together with renowned musician Nils Landgren. The project supports Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and their work in Kibera, Nairobi. Klum released two new films in 2011: The Testament of Tebaran, a Penan elder’s plea to end deforestation in Borneo, and The Coral Eden, a film about biodiversity from one of the Earth’s last untouched coral reef havens. Klum’s most recent film about the Baltic Sea environment, The Contemplator, celebrates the unparalleled beauty of this fragile sea and is a powerful reminder of what’s at stake. Klum has with his team followed life around the sea for four years for this unique film.
Klum’s expeditions and photo- and filmprojects have taken him and his team to all continents. Here is a selection of destinations they have been to: Malaysian Borneo and Brunei (1988); Nigeria (1990); Brazil and Costa Rica (1991); Malaysian Borneo (1995-1996); India (1999); Guyana (1999); India (2000); Malaysia, Thailand, India and South Africa (2001); Ecuador, Panama and Mongolia (2002); Malaysia (2003 and 2004); Peru and Antarctica (2005); The Linnaeus Expedition to seven continents (2006 and 2007); Iceland (2007); Indonesia and Malaysia (2007 and 2008); Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile and Australia (2008); Italy, Germany and Kenya (2009); and Malaysia, Rwanda, Congo DRC, Mozambique, Botswana, South Africa and Raja Ampat in New Guinea (2010); People’s Republic of China, Vietnam, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Fiji, Italy and Norway's Svalbard Islands (2011); Rwanda, Tanzania, India, Malaysian Borneo and Greece (2012); India, Sweden, Italy, Mozambique and Tanzania (2013); Malaysian Borneo, Italy, Sweden, Galapagos, Mozambique (2014); Italy, Sweden and Norway's Svalbard Islands (2015).
Klum’s work has been featured in many international publications, such as National Geographic, Wildlife Conservation, Audubon, Geo, BBC Wildlife, Terre Sauvage, Stern, Der Spiegel and The New York Times. In 1997 National Geographic Magazine published Klum’s photographs for the first time. That story made him the first Swede to have his work on the cover and one of National Geographic’s youngest contributors at the time. Since 1997, he has produced multiple articles and twelve cover stories for the reputable magazine.
Klum is an internationally sought-after lecturer and has given more than 2500 lectures worldwide, and has been represented by the National Geographic Speakers Bureau since 2003. A selection of Klum’s business customers are Tällberg Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative, The Royal Palace of Sweden, Apple, IKEA, National Geographic Society, WWF, Ermenegildo Zegna Group, Chautauqua Institution, Audi, American Express and Sweco, among others.
In 2007 Klum contributed to establishing Tierra Grande Publishing; the non-profit organization Terra Magna Foundation; Expedition Sweden, a five-year environmental and inspirational project for young adults in Sweden; and the Baltic Sea Media Project. International media continually report on Klum and his work. Klum’s photographs have been shown in one-man exhibitions at renowned museums and art galleries in the United States, Scandinavia, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Japan, Botswana, China, and Great Britain, among other countries, and at major worldwide events as COP15 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009, Shanghai World EXPO in 2010, 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium and Clinton Global Initiative, New York in 2011 and in Rio de Janerio during the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012. Mattias Klum’s photography is frequently exhibited all around the world, most recently in Italy.
Mattias Klum has published 13 books to date: Moments (Ögonblick 1990), When the Mist Rises (När Dimman Lättar 1992; Panda Book of the Year in 1993), A Journey Through Sweden (I Svenska Marker 1995), Exploring the Rainforest, (På Upptäcksfärd i Regnskogen1995), Borneo Rainforest, (Skogens Öga 1997; Panda Book of the Year in 1998), Inside Borneo (I Borneos Regnskog 1999), The Brittle Thread (Den Sköra Tråden 2000), Horse People (Hästfolk 2003), Being There (Viljans Väg 2007) and The Secret of Africa (Afrikas Hemlighet 2010). The Human Quest: Prospering Within Planetary Boundaries, 2012, (Vår tid på jorden: Välfärd inom planetens hållbara gränser, 2012), is co-authored by renowned scientist and global sustainability expert Johan Rockström with a foreword by President Bill Clinton.
In the autumn of 2013 yet another book by Klum was published called Världar av Liv. September 22 2015 Yale University Press published prof. Johan Rockström’s and Mattias’ latest book Big World Small Planet - Abundance within Planetary Boundaries.
Over the years, Klum has received numerous awards and grants for his work. Uppsala City Council bestowed him with its gold medal for his outstanding work from an Uppsala base. His Majesty the King of Sweden has granted Klum with his medal of the 8th grade with blue ribbon for his important contributions as a nature photographer. The Uppsala County Administration granted him with the title Citizen of the Year in Uppland 2007. Klum was nominated as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2008. He won First Place in Pictures of the Year International (POYi) 2009, and has twice been chosen to serve on the jury of World Press Photo. Klum was named Goodwill Ambassador for IUCN in 2011. Klum was awarded the Lidman Prize by Swedish Academy of Verbovisual Information and the Comprehensibility Price by the Swedish communication agency Publik in 2012. The magazine Miljöaktuellt ranked Klum as number 4 of Sweden's 100 most powerful people working for the environment 2013. Klum is a member of the Board of Trustees of WWF Sweden and a Fellow of National Geographic Society, Stockholm Resilience Centre, and The Linnean Society of London. Klum has been a guest lecturer at Uppsala University and teaches at Stockholm Resilience Centre. In 2013 Mattias Klum was awarded the Honorary Doctorate degree in Natural Science by Stockholm University and named ambassador for WWF, the World Wildlife Fund. Klum has been host at Swedish Radio’s ”Summer Talkers”, 1997, 2008 and in 2014 he hosted their winter edition ”Winter Talkers”. In 2014 Klum also received an environmental award from Uppsala Stift.
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