General Session: The National Geographic Photo Ark
Synopsis: The National Geographic Photo Ark is a multiyear effort led by National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore to document every species currently held in captivity and inspire people to save these animals before it’s too late. Sartore has visited 40 countries in his quest to create a photo archive of global biodiversity, that currently features the portraits of an estimated 12,000 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. This spring, National Geographic and OAAA’s members are launching an OOH cause campaign with Sartore’s unique photos from the Photo Ark to further educate the public on the extinction crisis and inspire them to “see what we can #SaveTogether.”
Joel Sartore is a photographer, speaker, author, teacher, conservationist, National Geographic fellow, and a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine. His hallmarks are a sense of humor and a Midwestern work ethic.
Sartore started the Photo Ark in his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska. Since then, Sartore, a world-renowned photographer has visited 40 countries in his quest to create this photo archive of global biodiversity.
To date, Sartore has completed portraits of more than 6,000 species, most photographed on either a plain black or white background. 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 also intimate and moving. “It’s the eye contact that moves people,” Sartore says of the animals’ expressions. “It engages … feelings of compassion and a desire to help.”
Sartore has written several books, including RARE: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species, Photographing Your Family, and Nebraska: Under a Big Red Sky. His most recent book is Let’s Be Reasonable.
In addition to the work he has done for National Geographic, Sartore has contributed to Audubon magazine, Time, Life, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, and numerous book projects. Sartore and his work have been the subjects of several national broadcasts, including National Geographic’s Explorer, the NBC Nightly News, NPR’s Weekend Edition, and an hourlong PBS documentary, At Close Range. He is also a regular contributor on the CBS Sunday Morning show with Charles Osgood.
Sartore graduated from the University of Nebraska with a degree in journalism. He currently lives in Nebraska with his wife and three children.
Sartore and his images are represented by National Geographic’s internal talent and stock agency NatGeoCreative.