Speakers Bureau

Joel Sartore Photographer, National Geographic Fellow

Photo: Joel Sartore
Photograph by Kathy Sartore

Though best known today for his far-reaching conservation project Photo Ark, Joel Sartore is unique among National Geographic photographers in that his body of work has been about people as often as it has been about wildlife and nature. In addition to the work he has done for National Geographic, Sartore has contributed to Audubon, Time, Life, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated. These stories have taken him to some of the world’s most beautiful and challenging environments, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and his photographic subjects have included bullfrogs, Boy Scouts, and beer-guzzling firefighters in the U.K.

After 20 years of photographing animals in the wild, Sartore had a simple, but revolutionary, idea that maybe the best way to inspire people to care about endangered species was through portraiture—an intimate look into the eyes of the animals in danger of extinction. Thus was born Photo Ark, Sartore’s joint project with the National Geographic Society to document as many of the world’s species in captivity with studio-style portraits before they disappear. The mission of Photo Ark is more than to build a catalog of biodiversity; Sartore wants “to get people to care, fall in love, and to take action.”

His work has always aimed to share with us a world worth saving. He fell in love with nature when he learned about Martha, the very last passenger pigeon, from one of his family’s Time-Life picture books.

Sartore is more than halfway through his goal of photographing the world’s captive species, and he is already seeing results—some are even calling him a modern-day Noah. These soulful portraits have served to raise awareness and funding for endangered species, effectively saving a few from extinction and increasing survival odds for others. In 2015, his Photo Ark images were projected on the Empire State Building, the United Nations Building, and St. Peter’s Basilica in promotion of the Academy Award-nominated documentary film Racing Extinction, about the ongoing mass extinction of our world’s animals.

Sartore is the author of numerous books, including Photo Ark: A World Worth Saving, RARE: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species, Photographing Your Family, Nebraska: Under a Big Red Sky, and Let’s Be Reasonable.

His work has been the subject of National Geographic Channel series Explorer and Great Migrations, NBC Nightly News, and the PBS documentary At Close Range. He is also a regular contributor to CBS News Sunday Morning and NPR‘s Weekend Edition.

Sartore is a co-founder of the Grassland Foundation and is currently on the national board of Defenders of Wildlife. A favorite among National Geographic presenters, Sartore’s on-stage hallmarks are his bright sense of humor and Midwestern work ethic.

Presentation Topics

Building the Photo Ark
Go behind the scenes with National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore as he travels around the world to capture portraits of every captive species on Earth — before it’s too late. Photo Ark contains the largest archive of its kind with images of over 6,000 species and counting, including the most toxic, outrageous, colorful, and simply beautiful creatures. Things can go wrong, and often do, but getting up close and personal is what it’s all about. Hear about his comical mishaps and personal encounters while documenting megafauna like pandas, tigers, and elephants, as well as animals that are on the very brink of extinction. You’ll also see how each of us can make a real difference starting today.

Grizzlies, Piranhas, and Man-Eating Pigs: On Assignment for National Geographic
Experience what it’s like to be on assignment for National Geographic. Sartore has learned the hard way that there’s a lot more to it than just capturing exotic places and cultures—there’s also a chance things can go horribly awry. In this lively presentation, Sartore shares an intimate and humorous look at what could be the best—and worst—job in the world as he plays expedition leader, psychologist, medic, and coach, as well as photographer.

Grounded: A Reflection on the Use of Life and Land
When Joel Sartore’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, this National Geographic photographer, who had traveled the world for 18 years, knew it was time to stay home. He reconnected with his family and rediscovered why he takes pictures in the first place: to document a world worth saving and to bring us closer to one another. In each life there is the potential for great impact; realizing it often starts very simply.

Witnessing Change: Making Sense of Global Warming
From the decline of tropical amphibians to the melting of polar ice, Sartore has seen and photographed the effects of global warming firsthand. See how even a slightly warmer Earth is already bringing about surprising change.


For more information, please call us at (202) 775–7800, or send an email to speakers@natgeo.com.


Learn More About Joel:

National Geographic Photographer Profile

NBC Nightly News: The Biodiversity Project

CBS News: Capturing America’s Endangered Species

PBS: At Close Range With National Geographic

NPR: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species

Joel Sartore Photography

The Photo Ark: An Introduction

Picture of Joel Sartore

Listen to Radio Interview With Joel Sartore

Boyd Matson Interviews Joel for NG Weekend Radio Show

National Geographic Speakers

Speaker name
Sam Abell
   Photographer Photo of Sam Abell
Lynsey Addario
   Photojournalist Photo of Lynsey Addario
Casey Anderson
   Naturalist, TV Host Photo of Casey Anderson
Peter Athans
   Mountaineer, Filmmaker Photo of Peter Athans
Robert Ballard
   Underwater Explorer Photo of Robert Ballard
Brady Barr
   Reptile Expert, TV Host Photo of Brady Barr
Melina Bellows
   Publisher, Editor Photo of Melina Bellows
Lee Berger
   Paleoanthropologist Photo of Lee Berger
Joel K. Bourne Jr.
   Contributing Writer Photo of Joel K. Bourne Jr.
Steve Boyes
   Conservation Biologist Photo of Steve Boyes
Kobie Boykins
   NASA Engineer Photo of Kobie Boykins
John Bredar
   Senior Executive Producer, National Geographic Specials Photo of John Bredar
Kenny Broad
   Cave Diver, Environmental Anthropologist Photo of Kenny Broad
Dan Buettner
   Author, Explorer Photo of Dan Buettner
Bryan Christy
   Investigative Reporter, Fellow Photo of Bryan Christy
Barry Clifford
   Underwater Explorer Photo of Barry Clifford
Jodi Cobb
   Photographer Photo of Jodi Cobb
Michael Davie
   Filmmaker Photo of Michael Davie
Wade Davis
   Cultural Anthropologist, Author Photo of Wade Davis
Dennis Dimick
   Executive Editor, National Geographic Magazine Photo of Dennis Dimick
David Doubilet
   Underwater Photographer Photo of David Doubilet
Sylvia Earle
   Marine Biologist Photo of Sylvia Earle
Andrew Evans
   Travel Journalist and TV Host Photo of Andrew Evans
John Francis
   Planetwalker, Conservationist Photo of John Francis
Annie Griffiths
   Photographer Photo of Annie Griffiths
David Guttenfelder
   Photojournalist Photo of David Guttenfelder
Charlie Hamilton James
   Photographer, Filmmaker, TV Presenter Photo of Charlie Hamilton James
Kevin Hand
   Planetary Scientist and Astrobiologist Photo of Kevin Hand
Zahi Hawass
   Archaeologist Photo of Zahi Hawass
Fred Hiebert
   Archaeologist Photo of Fred Hiebert
Peter Hillary
   Mountaineer, Author Photo of Peter Hillary
Nizar Ibrahim
   Paleontologist Photo of Nizar Ibrahim
Donald Johanson
   Paleoanthropologist Photo of Donald Johanson
Beverly & Dereck Joubert
   Photographers, Filmmakers, Naturalists Photo of Beverly & Dereck Joubert
Mattias Klum
   Photographer, Filmmaker, Conservationist Photo of Mattias Klum
Robert Kunzig
   Senior Environment Editor, National Geographic Photo of Robert Kunzig
Tim Laman
   Field Biologist, Wildlife Photojournalist Photo of Tim Laman
Frans Lanting
   Photographer, Filmmaker, Writer Photo of Frans Lanting
Mike Libecki
   Climber & Explorer Photo of Mike Libecki
Albert Yu-Min Lin
   Research Scientist and Engineer Photo of Albert Yu-Min Lin
Greg Marshall
   Biologist, Inventor, Filmmaker Photo of Greg Marshall
Boyd Matson
   Journalist, Adventurer Photo of Boyd Matson
Mireya Mayor
   Primatologist Photo of Mireya Mayor
Pete McBride
   Photographer, Filmmaker, Freshwater Advocate Photo of Pete McBride
Steve McCurry
   Photographer Photo of Steve McCurry
Mark Moffett
   Ecologist, Photographer Photo of Mark Moffett
Nalini Nadkarni
   Forest Ecologist Photo of Nalini Nadkarni
Michael "Nick" Nichols
   Photographer, Conservationist Photo of Michael "Nick" Nichols
Paul Nicklen
   Photographer, Biologist Photo of Paul Nicklen
Garrett Oliver
   Brewmaster, Author Photo of Garrett Oliver
Hilaree O'Neill
   Mountaineer Photo of Hilaree O'Neill
Børge Ousland
   Polar Explorer Photo of Børge Ousland
Matthieu Paley
   Photographer Photo of Matthieu Paley
Carsten Peter
   Photographer, Filmmaker Photo of Carsten Peter
Bob Poole
   National Geographic Cameraman Photo of Bob Poole
Sandra Postel
   Freshwater Conservationist, Freshwater Fellow Photo of Sandra Postel
Chad Pregracke
   Environmentalist Photo of Chad Pregracke
Reza
   Photojournalist and Humanitarian Photo of  Reza
Cory Richards
   Photographer, Climber, 2012 Adventurer of the Year Photo of Cory Richards
Jim Richardson
   Photographer Photo of Jim Richardson
Enric Sala
   Marine Ecologist Photo of Enric Sala
Joel Sartore
   Photographer, National Geographic Fellow Photo of Joel Sartore
William Saturno
   Archaeologist Photo of William Saturno
Paul Sereno
   Paleontologist Photo of Paul Sereno
Brian Skerry
   Underwater Photographer Photo of Brian Skerry
Bryan Smith
   Adventure Filmmaker Photo of Bryan Smith
John Stanmeyer
   Photographer Photo of John Stanmeyer
Zoltan Takacs
   Herpetologist / Toxinologist Photo of Zoltan Takacs
Anand Varma
   Natural History Photographer Photo of Anand Varma
Ed Viesturs
   Mountaineer Photo of Ed Viesturs
Ami Vitale
   Photojournalist Photo of Ami Vitale
Spencer Wells
   Population Geneticist Photo of Spencer Wells
Steve Winter
   Photographer Photo of Steve Winter

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