Theo grew up in a small German town near the Dutch border. His adventurous spirit developed already at the age of 6 when he disappeared for hours with his bike in the forests near the border while his parents waited with worries for his return. At the age of 18 while still in high school, he and two friends drove all the way from Germany to Morocco in an old Mercedes – a 10.000 km journey. This trip laid the foundation for his future life as an adventurer, explorer and photographer.
Theo Allofs has been a full time professional photographer for the past 30 years. In 1995 he started to specialize in wildlife and nature photography with a strong focus on endangered animals and threatened habitats. His work has been published in all major natural history and other renowned magazines and newspapers around the world including National Geographic Magazine, Smithsonian, Time Magazine, New York Times, Newsweek, GEO, American Photo. His images have appeared on over one hundred book and magazine covers and he was the sole photographer for dozens of calendars. He is author/photographer of seven books including coffee table books about the Yukon, Namibia, Australia and the Pantanal. “Pantanal – South America’s Wetland Jewel” was voted by Discover Magazine as one of the ten best scientific oriented books of the year. During his career Theo has won numerous international awards, including 12 awards in the prestigious BBC Wildlife Photographer Of The Year competition.
His Fine Art Prints have been purchased by clients around the globe and many museums worldwide have exhibited his work, including the Natural History Museum in London, the Smithsonian and the Annenberg Space For Photography.
Into the Wild
After high school Theo Allofs began a career as a ship engineer with the German merchant marine. For two years he sailed across all oceans on three different ships including a banana boat. Because rough seas didn’t suit him too well (sea-sickness) he decided to become a captain of his own little boat. In 1978 at the age of 22 he travelled to Whitehorse in Canada’s Yukon Territory where he purchased a small canoe. During the next two months he paddled down the whole length of the Yukon River by himself, all the way to the Bering Sea, a distance of 3000 km. After this life-changing adventure he became obsessed with the northern wilderness and the little craft that could take him to places where no motor boat could go. When he turned 30 he had paddled more kilometers in a canoe than driven in a car.
From 1978 to 1984 Theo studied Geology at the University of Cologne, The University of Alberta in Edmonton and the Julius Maximilian University in Wuerzburg. It was only while he was working on his Geology thesis in the Iberian Mountains in Spain that he discovered his true passion – photography.
(1984 – RECENT)
After finishing his thesis in geology in 1984 Theo began a career as an adventure and travel photographer. In 1990 he moved to Canada’s Yukon where he discovered his love for wildlife and landscape photography. He built his own log home in one of the most pristine wilderness areas in North America at the edge of Kluane National Park. The majestic landscape surrounding his new home was the inspiration for him to become a full-time nature photographer in 1995.
In 2012 Theo moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico where he still lives together with his wife Jami Tarris who is a nature photographer as well. When asked where they met Theo answers: “In a polar bear den”, which is only partly true. They met two days before they actually did crawl into an abandoned polar bear den south of Churchill/Manitoba in the middle of winter.
A few years ago Theo learned how to fly with a powered paraglider despite his fear of heights. This flying machine doesn’t take much space and can easily be transported in the back of a car or 4×4 vehicle. It allows him to take off in very remote places which are costly to reach by small planes or helicopters. All he needs is an open space for take-off and landing. The aerial photographs he took while flying with a powered paraglider have received international awards and were published in magazines around the globe including Newsweek, The New Yorker and The Guardian.
Heydar Aliyev Center
Theo was invited by Leyla Aliyeva, daughter of president Ilham Aliyev, to exhibit his work about Africa he collected over a period of 20 years. This exhibition lasted for one year.