• September 19, 2013

Joel Sartore on the Photo Ark

“I think photography has tremendous potential in terms of moving people to action.”—Joel Sartore

Picture of a Florida panther
A Florida panther photographed at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida, from the October 2013 National Geographic story “Building the Ark”

Joel Sartore believes that photography can take an ordinary moment and elevate it to iconic. From covering koalas in Australia to the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Sartore has captured the world’s iconic moments in 33 stories for National Geographic. Throughout his 23 years working for the magazine, his photos have influenced governments around the world to protect both species and land. Sartore is now on a mission to halt extinction or, at the very least, slow the process down, through a project he calls the Photo Ark. For this project, Sartore travels to zoos around the country with an aim to photograph all of the world’s 6,000 captive species, of which he has so far captured more than 2,600. —Caitlin Kleiboer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This video portrait was produced by National Geographic magazine in partnership with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. It is part of an ongoing series of conversations with the photographers of the magazine, exploring the power of photography and why this life of imagemaking suits them so well. Learn more about the making of the series and watch the full trailer here.

Follow Joel Sartore on his website.

Video Production Credits
Photographer: Joel Sartore
Producers: Pamela Chen, NGM
Chad A. Stevens, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Associate Producer: Elyse Lipman, NGM
Editor: Caitlin Kleiboer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Camera and Sound: Spencer Millsap, NGM, Shannon Sanders, NGM

There are 20 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. Jomlowe
    February 19, 2016

    Are some of your pictures edited ?

  2. Heidy
    January 24, 2016

    As a animal lover you bring the stars in my eyes. So much beauty around us we have to save that. Thank you

    November 16, 2015

    Wonderful! Did you use film or digital
    camera for the blowups in the exhibit?

  4. Jay Gellman
    November 1, 2015

    Love your work and loved your photography course, I learned so much from the 2 courses you did.

  5. shaheryar javed
    August 1, 2015

    great work sir, i want to be your studeny….

  6. Debarghya Mukherjee
    May 17, 2015

    Perfect example of rule of third. I really like your work.

  7. Olivia
    May 6, 2015

    Beautiful work!

  8. Sudeep mishra
    December 1, 2014

    I like u much . I also want to be like you

  9. Talib Raza Khan
    November 27, 2014

    Awesome work i really impress your photography

  10. S K GANGA
    October 10, 2013

    Really, I am captivated. Doing a great job. You are sensitive to care where there is no compassion.Thank you!

  11. Susan Shafer
    October 9, 2013

    Recently we saw the FL panther at the Jacksonville, FL zoo. The female panther was sunning herself and he ambled up stretched out and put his arm over her. All watching said “aw!” It was such a tender moment that we shared.

  12. Emilio Cruz
    October 9, 2013

    This is what motivates me to take this hobby of photography because in a photo that moment lasts forever

  13. Pegi
    October 8, 2013

    Thank you for all the work you have done. May I suggest a subject for you to consider, alligator turtle.

  14. chandrashekhar singh
    October 7, 2013

    This photo cannot be framed except zoo! its so living,thanx dude for the pleasure of my eyes…!!!

  15. Kristen Andersen
    October 5, 2013

    Very admirable! Wish I could do what you do for a living! ! !! Definately worth it!! Love taking pictures! Much respect & love to you!!!

  16. Tuula Pesonen
    September 26, 2013

    Amazing photos! I hope they make people think what we humans do here on earth…

  17. Jesada Somsuphangsri
    September 23, 2013

    good jobs !

  18. Karen Baker Lichty
    September 23, 2013

    you go, buddy! Do it some more!

  19. Ashraf saper
    September 22, 2013


  20. Ziga Tretjak
    September 19, 2013

    Captivating and deeply emotional. What a disturbing species humans are

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