TedTalk with National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore

Meet Joel Sartore. Joel is an American wildlife photographer who has photographed for well-established publications and has founded wildlife conservation projects. He has twenty years of hard work under his belt and continues to lead the way in the world of wildlife photography.

Joel has had an incredible journey. He has travelled to more than 40 countries and captured over 6 000 different species through his lens. Apart from his diverse repertoire of work photographer, speaker, author, teacher, conservationist, and a contributor to National Geographic magazine, it is his animals portraits that captivate people.

Joel Sartore’s Photo Ark Project

His dedication to wildlife and conservation has inspired his largest project, The Photo Ark,  which is a documentary project to help save species and their habitat. Joel has created an intimate archive of over 6 000 species in different habitats around the world.

Joel Sartore truly catching the animal’s soul. Credit: Ironside Photography.

“It’s the eye contact that moves people. It engages … feelings of compassion and a desire to help,” says Joel Sartore about The Photo Ark. “I want people to care, to fall in love, and to take action.”

He has a unique sense of humour that he blends into his photography. His particular point of view bleeds into his photography where he ventures to capture more of what we ‘think’ an animal should be or do, to pay homage to what they are. “My job is to help people think about things.” And he does just that through bringing every day or humorous elements into his photography.

Why should we care?

All of his photographs have a message. It’s thought-provoking. It draws our attention to how our daily lives as human beings disrupt large segments of the ecosystem, whether it’s through preventing necessary migration or habitat destruction. There are times when photographs can instigate change and promote a “common sense solution”, says Joel in a TedTalk.

So why should we care?

“It is folly to think that we can destroy one species and ecosystem after another and not affect humanity,” he says. “When we save species, we’re actually saving ourselves.”


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