Joel Sartore



Picture of a western lowland gorilla at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX

Photograph by Joel Sartore

Picture of Joel Sartore at a game preserve in South Africa

Photograph courtesy Joel Sartore

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

Sartore specializes in documenting endangered species and landscapes in order to show a world worth saving. He is the founder of the Photo Ark, a multiyear documentary project to save species and habitat.

"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."

Sartore has written several books, including RARE: Portraits of America's Endangered Species, Photographing Your Family, and Nebraska: Under a Big Red Sky. His most recent book is Let's Be Reasonable.

In addition to the work he has done for National Geographic, Sartore has contributed to Audubon magazine, Time, Life, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, and numerous book projects. Sartore and his work have been the subjects of several national broadcasts, including National Geographic's Explorer, the NBC Nightly News, NPR's Weekend Edition, and an hourlong PBS documentary, At Close Range. He is also a regular contributor on the CBS Sunday Morning show with Charles Osgood.

Sartore graduated from the University of Nebraska with a degree in journalism. He currently lives in Nebraska with his wife and three children.

Follow Me


More Online

In Their Words

When we save species, we're actually saving ourselves.

—Joel Sartore


  • joel-sartore-video.jpg

    A Call for Action

    Sartore speaks about his experience in the field and what he has learned about saving the planet.

Our Explorers in Action

See Photos »

Meet All Our Explorers

  • NationalGeographic_1289095-flag.jpg

    Explorers A-Z

    At the heart of our explorers program is the quest for knowledge through exploration and the people who make it possible.

  • Photo: Michael Lombardi diving

    Explorers by Category

    Browse our different areas of exploration and discover the fascinating people behind the projects.