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HandWiki. The Photo Ark. Encyclopedia. Available online: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/37838 (accessed on 25 April 2024).
HandWiki. The Photo Ark. Encyclopedia. Available at: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/37838. Accessed April 25, 2024.
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HandWiki. "The Photo Ark." Encyclopedia. Web. 02 December, 2022.
The Photo Ark
Edit

The Photo Ark is a National Geographic project which has the goal of photographing all species living in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries around the globe in order to inspire action to save wildlife. The project has been documented in a series of books and in a three-part documentary first shown on PBS and then released to home video. A selection of photographs from the project has been exhibited in various museums, zoos, and exhibition halls around the world. The documentary, RARE: Creatures of The Photo Ark, was awarded the Best Conservation Film award in 2018.

wildlife documentary conservation

1. Goals and Progress

The Photo Ark project, led by Joel Sartore in association with National Geographic, is a multiyear effort to document the approximately 12,000 species[1] living in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries. Its goal is to inspire action through education, and help save wildlife by supporting conservation efforts.[2][3][4]

According to a February 2017 press release by National Geographic, one half of Earth's animal species could go extinct by 2100. "Joel Sartore... is acutely aware of this devastating reality and is passionate about protecting our planet's animals."[5] Regarding the scope of the project, Sartore said: "The logistics of pulling off a project of this scope is numbing at times. The travel, the long hours, the setup and teardown of our mobile photo studio… it wears me down just thinking about it".[6]:page 170

In a February 2017 interview with NPR, regarding the issue of him being able to complete the project before retirement, Sartore said: "I will be greatly relieved when all this is done, but I figure another 15 years or so, that's what it's going to take. No matter what, I'm going to get it done if I can still do it, if I can still walk and talk and shoot".[7]

Sartore says that National Geographic sees themselves as responsible stewards of the environment, and says that they are in it for "the long haul". He said that he believed that if he could get the project started, National Geographic would see its value, and he believes that they have. Since starting the project, Sartore says several species he photographed are now extinct: a rabbit, a fish, an insect, and the Rabbs' fringe-limbed treefrog. "It saddens me greatly, but also angers and inspires me to want to give everything I've got to this project, and use extinction as a wake up call. As these species go away, so could we."[8]

The first animal to be photographed for the project was the naked mole-rat living at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo.[8] As the project progressed, National Geographic reported on its status during significant milestones:

  • On September 14, 2017, National Geographic reported on the 7,000th animal photographed for The Photo Ark, the Leadbeater's possum, a critically endangered marsupial which is native to the acacia forests of central Victoria in Australia .[9]
  • On May 4, 2018, National Geographic reported that the 8,000th animal had been photographed; it was the semiaquatic Pyrenean desman.[10]

2. Project Origins

Sartore says his appreciation of the wild was nurtured by his parents during his youth in Nebraska, which is where he acquired his mother's love of nature. He recalls a book on birds his mother owned which had a chapter on extinct species, including the passenger pigeon. He says that he was always amazed by that, and didn’t think that he would live long enough to see another species go extinct. He believes that in the 11 years he has worked on the Photo Ark project, he has seen 10 go extinct.[11] In a March 2018 interview, Sartore said that he went to the Omaha Zoo as often as his parents would take him, and that to him, it was better than Disney World. There, he became familiar with the animals and their unique personalities. He says that his parents made sure he was out in nature and appreciated it, which he says made all the difference.[12]

In a February 2018 interview, Sartore said that he began the Ark project about 12 years ago when he was caring for his three young children while his wife was being treated for cancer. During that time, he started to think about what he might do with the second half of his life and career to make a difference. "That's how the Ark got started, and I've been going at it ever since."[13]

In an April 2018 interview, Sartore said he had been a National Geographic photographer for over 27 years, and although he worked for 15 years doing various conservation stories, the impact was not enough to "stop the extinction crisis". So he realized that maybe "very simple portraits lit exquisitely so you can see the beauty and the color, looking animals directly in the eye with no distractions, would be the way to do it."[8]

3. The Photo Ark and Related Books

The project has been documented in a series of books:

  • Rare: Portraits of America's Endangered Species (2010) ISBN:1-4262-0575-9. Precursor to The Photo Ark project.
  • Animal Ark: Celebrating our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures (National Geographic Kids, 2017) ISBN:978-1426327674
  • The Photo Ark: One Man's Quest to Document the World's Animals (2017) ISBN:9781426217777
  • Birds Of The Photo Ark (2018) ISBN:978-1426218989

4. Documentary

Beginning in July 2017, PBS broadcast a three-part film, RARE: Creatures of The Photo Ark, which documented highlights of the project.[14][15] RARE was later released for purchase in both Blu-ray and DVD format, and is also available on Amazon Prime.[13] As of February 2018, a second season was being discussed with National Geographic.[13]

In a February 2018 interview, RARE director Chun-Wei Yi said that he met Sartore at National Geographic Television & Film, in 2006 or 2007, soon after what was to become the Photo Ark had started. He says he was blown away by the impact that eye contact with an animal could have on someone. When asked if any of the locations presented significant obstacles to filming due to remoteness or ruggedness of terrain, Yi commented on the "unimaginable amount of work" that the scientists and rangers on the front lines of conservation perform, and they do it in some of the world's harshest conditions. In the course of making the series, the 5,000th species was photographed: a Persian leopard in Budapest.[13]

In that same interview, Sartore was asked if having the project filmed would help raise the profile of these endangered species even further. Sartore said "the more coverage the better." He related that the Photo Ark project is a public awareness campaign that will run for many decades because:

We need to make folks aware that all species need our empathy and our support. And they need habitat to survive as well... The best part is that when we save other species, we’re actually saving ourselves as well.[13]

5. Exhibitions

The Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art exhibiting The Photo Ark https://handwiki.org/wiki/index.php?curid=1527192
The Photo Ark on exhibit in Pennsylvania. https://handwiki.org/wiki/index.php?curid=1898142

In September 2017, the Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica presented the first event of the National Geographic Live series (National Geographic Live is the live events division of National Geographic) during The Broad Stage's 2017–18 season. The event was called "Building the Photo Ark with National Geographic Fellow and photographer, Joel Sartore". The event included a post-show Q&A session with Sartore.[16]

To spread awareness of this project, a selection of photographs from The Photo Ark has been exhibited in various museums, zoos, and exhibition halls around the world,[17] including the following locations:

5.1. Beginning in 2017

  • Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome, Italy[18]
  • Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Cincinnati, Ohio[17][19]
  • Dallas Zoo, Dallas, Texas[17][19]
  • Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Omaha, Nebraska[17][19]
  • Hickory Museum of Art, Hickory, North Carolina[20]
  • Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne, Australia[17]
  • National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, Wyoming[17]
  • San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego, California[17]
  • Stadion Narodowy, Warsaw, Poland[17]
  • The War Memorial of Korea Museum, Seoul, South Korea[21]

5.2. Beginning in 2018

  • Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Los Angeles , California [17]
  • Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art Amphitheater, Millersburg, Pennsylvania[22]
  • Museon, The Hague, Netherlands[17]
  • Museum of Natural History, Porto, Portugal[17]
  • Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, Washington[17]

6. Endangered Species Day

On May 18, 2018, in commemoration of Endangered Species Day,[23] members of the Australian group Outdoor Media Association (OMA), launched a campaign as part of a global partnership with National Geographic and 20 international companies to bring attention to species at risk of extinction using images from the Photo Ark. The global campaign used Digital Out of Home (DOOH) on every continent except Antarctica, with local species being displayed in order to highlight the fact that species extinctions affect all parts of the world.[24]

7. Awards

In February 2018, RARE: Creatures of The Photo Ark was awarded Best Conservation Film at the New York WILD Film Festival, held at The Explorers Club in Manhattan.[13]

8. Reaction

Harrison Ford, who is the vice chair on the board of directors for Conservation International,[6]:Page 11 wrote the foreword for The Photo Ark: One Man's Quest to Document the World's Animals, saying that this book "focuses a lens on the individual threads in nature’s tapestry."[6]:Page 11

Jane Goodall praised The Photo Ark saying: "This is one of the most scientifically important — and artistically brilliant — books ever."[6]:Dust jacket: rear

Mike Norton, executive vice president of Norton Outdoor Advertising wrote in Billboard Insider that "In this era of division and hyper-partisanship, Photo Ark is a uniting cause. Photo Ark has earned support and respect across the political spectrum, from Harrison Ford to hunters."[25]

In March 2017, Publishers Weekly reviewed The Photo Ark, commenting that the photos use black-and-white backgrounds to highlight the animals, and snapshots of the photographing process are included as well. The article says that "Sartore more than succeeds in his goal to provide people with an opportunity to become aware of these animals, many endangered, before they disappear."[26]

In July 2017, The National Press Photographers Association reported that Sartore’s goal is to photograph animals before they go extinct, but surmises that he may run out of time for many species. "It has taken 10 years so far to photograph about 6,500 of the estimated 12,000 species he wants to record. Sartore estimates it will take him 15 more years to finish... The first batch appears in 'The Photo Ark,' and its assortment of creatures is fascinating... [The book] will change the way you think of turning a field or forest into the next mall or housing development."[27]

References

  1. "Photos: See Inside The Photo Ark by National Geographic Fellow Joel Sartore". Parade. March 6, 2017. Archived from the original on June 8, 2018. https://archive.is/RXQDn. Retrieved June 8, 2018. 
  2. "National Geographic: The Photo Ark". National Geographic. Archived from the original on May 13, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20180513192813/https://www.nationalgeographic.org/projects/photo-ark/. Retrieved May 13, 2018. 
  3. Taylor, Alan (March 17, 2016). "Building a Photo Ark". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on June 16, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20180616214531/https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2016/03/building-a-photo-ark/474126/. Retrieved June 16, 2018. 
  4. Latimer, Bronwen (April 25, 2016). "The ‘Photo Ark,’ stunning images of some of Earth’s most endangered species". Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-sight/wp/2016/04/25/the-photo-ark-stunning-images-of-some-of-americas-most-endangered-species/?noredirect=on. Retrieved June 16, 2018. 
  5. Little, Lena Khidritskaya (February 21, 2017). "The Photo Ark: One Man’s Quest to Document the World’s Animals, a new book by National Geographic Fellow and acclaimed photographer Joel Sartore". National Geographic. Archived from the original on June 8, 2018. https://archive.is/Xfe1D. Retrieved June 8, 2018. 
  6. "The Photo Ark: One Man's Quest to Document the World's Animals". Google. https://books.google.com/books?id=pAMdDgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=9781426217777&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjVr7WE4YPbAhWhg-AKHXh-CXsQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=9781426217777&f=false. Retrieved May 13, 2018. 
  7. "Photographer Builds A 'Photo Ark' For 6,500 Animal Species And Counting". NPR. February 27, 2017. Archived from the original on June 8, 2018. https://archive.is/E0HC4. Retrieved June 8, 2018. 
  8. Biga, Leo Adam (April 10, 2018). "Nature photographer Joel Sartore taking cue from Noah with his National Geographic Photo Ark". The Reader. Archived from the original on June 16, 2018. https://archive.is/pJelQ. Retrieved June 16, 2018. 
  9. Brady, Heather (September 14, 2017). "'Forest Fairy' Joins as 7,000th Animal in Nat Geo's Photo Ark". National Geographic. Archived from the original on May 27, 2018. https://archive.is/qW91x. Retrieved May 27, 2018. 
  10. Gibbens, Sarah (May 4, 2018). "Aquatic Mammal With Snorkel Nose Is 8,000th Animal in Our Photo Ark". National Geographic. Archived from the original on June 9, 2018. https://archive.is/GU61Q. Retrieved June 9, 2018. 
  11. "PBS’ ‘Photo Ark’ is a wake-up call for endangered animals". WTOP. July 17, 2017. Archived from the original on June 16, 2018. https://archive.is/9I3aT. Retrieved June 16, 2018. 
  12. Smith, Kailey Beth (March 18, 2018). "National Geographic Photographer visits Auburn, talks conservation, personal motivation". The Plainsman. Archived from the original on June 16, 2018. https://archive.is/lsWlV. Retrieved June 16, 2018. 
  13. "‘Photo Ark’ a quest to document global biodiversity: Q&A with photographer Joel Sartore and director Chun-Wei Yi". Mongabay. February 21, 2018. Archived from the original on June 16, 2018. https://archive.is/RPUge. Retrieved June 16, 2018. 
  14. "RARE: Creatures of The Photo Ark". PBS. Archived from the original on May 13, 2018. https://archive.is/TbsNa. Retrieved May 13, 2018. 
  15. Shattuck, Kathryn (July 25, 2017). "What’s on TV Tuesday: ‘Rare: Creatures of The Photo Ark’ and ‘Fleabag’". New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/25/arts/television/whats-on-tv-tuesday-rare-creatures-of-the-photo-ark-and-fleabag.html. Retrieved May 17, 2018. 
  16. "National Geographic Live Presents: Building The Photo Ark with Joel Sartore". Santa Monica Mirror. August 10, 2017. Archived from the original on June 16, 2018. https://archive.is/TDzAE. Retrieved June 16, 2018. 
  17. "Photo Ark Exhibitions". National Geographic. Archived from the original on May 13, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20180513213432/https://www.nationalgeographic.org/projects/photo-ark/exhibitions/. Retrieved May 13, 2018. 
  18. "Esclusiva National Geographic Photo Ark Animal Wonders". OTSQRP. Archived from the original on May 17, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20180517124336/https://en.auditorium.com/evento/photo_ark-17580.html. Retrieved May 17, 2018. 
  19. "National Geographic Photo Ark Highlights Cincinnati Zoo Conservation Projects". Huffington Post. June 2, 2017. Archived from the original on June 16, 2018. https://archive.is/fAEdy. Retrieved June 16, 2018. 
  20. BAILEY, JOHN (October 9, 2017). "Sartore exhibit at Hickory Museum of Art spotlights saving animals". Hickory Record. Archived from the original on May 20, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20180520142840/http://www.hickoryrecord.com/news/sartore-exhibit-at-hickory-museum-of-art-spotlights-saving-animals/article_3657f7c4-e34f-58be-9853-935089c106d3.html. Retrieved May 20, 2018. 
  21. "Photo Ark Exhibit". Archived from the original on May 20, 2018. https://archive.is/iQHKA. Retrieved May 20, 2018. 
  22. "National Geographic’s Photo Ark by photographer Joel Sartore". Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau. Archived from the original on May 13, 2018. https://archive.is/yCXDE#selection-487.0-487.11. Retrieved May 13, 2018. 
  23. "Endangered Species Day – May 18, 2018". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. February 14, 2018. Archived from the original on June 17, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20180617025921/https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esday/index.html. Retrieved June 17, 2018. 
  24. "Outdoor companies launch campaign with National Geographic Society for Endangered Species Day". Mediaweek. May 18, 2018. Archived from the original on June 16, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20180616204259/https://mediaweek.com.au/outdoor-oma-national-geographic-photo-ark-endangered-species/. Retrieved June 16, 2018. 
  25. Norton, Mike (June 7, 2018). "Five Reasons I Support Photo Ark". Billboard Insider. Archived from the original on June 8, 2018. https://archive.is/B2XRI. Retrieved June 8, 2018. 
  26. "The Photo Ark: One Man’s Quest to Document the World’s Animals". Publishers Weekly. March 7, 2017. Archived from the original on June 8, 2018. https://archive.is/vguwh. Retrieved June 8, 2018. 
  27. Wolgast, Stephen (July 31, 2017). "Photo Ark: Capturing the Present for the Future". NPPA. Archived from the original on June 8, 2018. https://archive.is/M1vba. Retrieved June 8, 2018. 
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