Photographer Joel Sartore is on a quest to photograph every species of animal living in any zoo or wildlife sanctuary anywhere in the world. Since 1995, he’s shot 8,485 species in more than 40 countries–and a selection of the arresting images he’s made will soon be on display at the Annenberg Space for Photography.
Opening on October 13, an exhibit based on Sartore’s project, known as the National Geographic Photo Ark, will open at the gallery, featuring 100 large-format photos of animals. They range from rare and endangered creatures from far-flung corners of the world, to an entire gallery dedicated to wildlife native to California. Along with the prints, there will be a short documentary film and interactive displays. A program of live events and “field trips” will also be on the agenda.
The style of Sartore’s images takes its cues from portrait photography, with a single animal shot close up against a minimalist backdrop, creating a more intimate image than you might associate with typical wildlife photography.
“It’s the eye contact that moves people,” Sartore says in a description of the project. “It engages feelings of compassion and a desire to help.”
Triggering that desire for viewers to want to help these animals is a big part of the Photo Ark journey. Sartore doesn’t see himself as a neutral documentarian; he’s a conservation activist who wants his images to inspire humans to do what they can to protect the environment and the biodiversity it supports.
“I want people to care, to fall in love, and to take action,” he says.
Since the Annenberg Foundation is currently focusing on environmental stewardship, social justice, and animal welfare initiatives around the world, having this traveling exhibition make its L.A. debut at the Annenberg Space for Photography feels like a natural choice.
“Photo Ark gives visitors the opportunity to experience the animal kingdom up close and personal,” Wallis Annenberg, the Annenberg Foundation chairman, president, and CEO, said in an announcement of the exhibition. “The powerful close-up images Joel has captured grab viewers and don’t let go. His brilliant photography connects us to creatures we may know little about and inspires us to want to take action to protect them.”
The National Geographic Photo Ark by Joel Sartore will be on display October 13, 2018 to January 12, 2019, at the Annenberg Space for Photography, 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City.
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