Joel Sartore: Building the Photo Ark
The interaction between animals and their environments is the engine that keeps the planet healthy for all of us. But for many species, time is running out. When you remove one, it affects us all.
The National Geographic Photo Ark is a multiyear effort to raise awareness of and find solutions to some of the most pressing issues affecting wildlife and their habitats. Led by National Geographic photographer, Fellow, and 2018 Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year Joel Sartore, the project aims to document every species living in the world’s zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, inspire action through education, and help save wildlife by supporting on-the-ground conservation efforts.
Joel Sartore started the National Geographic Photo Ark in his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, more than a decade ago. Since then, Sartore, a world-renowned photographer, has visited 40 countries in his quest to create a photo archive of global biodiversity, which will feature portraits of an more than 15,000 species of birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. Once completed, the Photo Ark will serve as an important record of each animal’s existence and a powerful testament to the importance of saving them.
To date, Joel has completed portraits of more than 9,000 species. No matter its size, each animal is treated with the same amount of affection and respect. The results are portraits that are not just stunningly beautiful, but intimate and moving. “It’s the eye contact that moves people,” Sartore explains. “It engages their feelings of compassion and a desire to help.”