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Joel Sartore

Joel Sartore

The Conservationist-Photographer.

Joel Sartore an American photographer, speaker, author, teacher and has contributed to the National Geographic magazine for a very long time.

Discy Latest Questions

Joel Sartore
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I’m proud of the story, and even though it was very tough both mentally and physically, I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. I made some lifelong friends, helped save the park from a dam, and learned how good we have it in the United States. So, I’m very proud of the fact that I took that assignment, and that it was a success.

Joel Sartore
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I learned that there is less time than we thought for many of the species in the book. If they don’t get enough habitat set aside, and have people pay attention to them in the way of funding and management, they will leave us. The good news is that the majority of the species in the book can be saved. We just have to care enough, then do the right thing.

Joel Sartore
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Well, there are huge areas of China and Brazil that have lost their pollinating insects, including flies and beetles, so that now humans have to pollinate fruits and vegetables by hand using little dishes of pollen and paintbrushes. If that doesn’t make you nervous, what will? Besides, it is folly to think that we can destroy one species and ecosystem after another and not have it affect humanity. When we save species, we’re actually saving ourselves. We’re intricately tied to healthy, functioning ecosystems. But at a time when most folks have no idea how their food is produced, this is all a tough sell. Here are a few points I made in my local newspaper about a critically endangered insect in my own county, the Salt Creek tiger beetle. 1) Save species and habitat to help save ourselves. To think that humans are not tied in tightly to the natural world is pure folly. In fact, we’re totally dependent on healthy, functioning ecosystems for our very survival, from the air we breathe to the food we eat to the water we drink. Notice that the frogs and bird species are thinning out where you live? These things are living monitors of the health of the earth. To think that we can escape their fate over the long haul is not realistic, to say the least. 2) We’re killing off the ark. All plants and animals, even the Salt Creek tiger beetle, are God’s creatures. Who are we to purposely kill off any of ...

Joel Sartore
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Of my nearly 30 stories in NGM, the search for the ivory-billed woodpecker was one of my all-time favorites. This was a story of hope–of a hardwood swamp landscape that had been preserved over the decades by several different groups that worked well together. It’s as if the bird was a payoff for their good deeds. It was sure nice to focus on the positive for a change.

Joel Sartore
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I think they’re looking for images that have a timeless quality yet still tell a story well. We work many months ahead on these stories, so images that combine fine art with journalism seem to be the ones that last and matter most. Of course, everyone loves surprising images as well, but those are hard to come by.

Joel Sartore
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I’ve helped out Bill Frakes and Ted Kirk, both longtime pros in the business. I’ve also had the pleasure of watching Christian Ziegler, Ian Nichols, Paul Nicklen, and Tim Laman at work in the field. I learn something from each and every person I watch work, from wildlife shooters to wedding photographers.

Joel Sartore
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Both are equally challenging. I like working on studio portraits because I’ll at least see the animals, something I’m not guaranteed in the wild. The results of the studio work is often surprising, and when viewed together as a body of work I hope the Photo Ark raises as much awareness of the plight of endangered species as much or more than fieldwork.

Joel Sartore
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Well, first, some of the species in the project simply can’t be found in the wild any more. Another reason for this portrait style is that it gives equal weight to creatures big and small. Some of the frogs I’ve photographed are the size of a thumbnail, and this is a way for me to put them on equal footing with bigger animals like lions.

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