Joel Sartore

Photo Ark Founder. Wildlife Photographer. Man on a Mission.

Joel Sartore

Joel Sartore is a photographer, speaker, author, teacher, conservationist, National Geographic fellow, explorer, and longtime contributor to National Geographic magazine. His hallmarks are a sense of humor and a midwestern work ethic.


Joel officially launched his magnum opus, the Photo Ark, 15 years ago, but he’s been building this photographic archive of global biodiversity for nearly 25 years.  His quest to document every living species in captivity has taken him to 60 countries and brought him face to face with more than 11,000 unique species. His simple goal? To wake us up to life vanishing before our eyes and to prompt us to act while there’s still time for some of them. As Joel often says, “We won’t save what we don’t love, and we won’t fall in love if we don’t connect.”


Sartore and his work have been the subject of numerous TV and radio broadcasts, including National Geographic and Nat Geo WILD, NBC Nightly News, NPR’s Weekend Edition, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, 60 Minutes, and PBS. He is also a regular contributor to the CBS Sunday Morning Show, and was named 2018 Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year.  He also contributes to Audubon, Life, The New York Times, and Sports Illustrated.  His numerous book projects include RARE: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species, Photographing Your Family, The Photo Ark, Animal Ark, and The Photo Ark Vanishing.


“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.” To learn more about bringing Joel’s unique mix of wit and wisdom to your audience, reach out to us.

Joel Sartore

Featured Presentation

Building the Photo Ark


National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore is on a mission to capture portraits of every species in captivity before they disappear. With ingenuity, wit, and a serious Midwestern work ethic, Joel has created the Photo Ark project, the largest archive of its kind with more 11,000 species, and counting. Hear about his comical mishaps, endearing encounters, and personal stories that have unfolded on the road to document a world worth saving.


Funny, passionate, and stirring, Joel—called a “social star” by Forbes—entertains audiences with photos, videos, and stories that linger in the heart. Modest by nature, Joel puts his subjects front and center.  Their haunting eyes and unique sounds have been projected at global conservation events on the Empire State Building, the United Nations HQ, and The Vatican, in Rome.


This powerful talk reminds us that nature observes no borders, the natural world has its limits and collectively, if we choose to care, we can make a world of difference in our shared future.

Photos: courtesy Joel Sartore

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