See Animal Portraits of Endangered and Extinct Species at National Geographic Photo Ark Exhibition

By Barrera, Sandra | Pasadena Star-News, October 9, 2018 | Go to article overview

See Animal Portraits of Endangered and Extinct Species at National Geographic Photo Ark Exhibition


Barrera, Sandra, Pasadena Star-News


Several years ago National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore visited the Atlanta Botanical Garden where, using a simple set-up of studio lights and a white background, he took a compelling photo of Toughie, a Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog native to Panama.

When Toughie died in 2016, his species went extinct.

You can see Toughie and other captive species in the Annenberg Space for Photography’s new “National Geographic Photo Ark” exhibition, from Saturday, Oct. 13 through Jan. 13.

The exhibition features more than 100 studio portraits from Sartore’s ambitious project to document all of the world’s captive species, half of which are believed to be facing extinction in the next 80 years. It includes a special California section and a documentary about the photographer’s life’s work.

“It’s critical to give every species a voice and an equal playing field – that’s why all of the animals I photograph appear on black or white backgrounds – all are the same size, and every single one matters, no matter how few,” Sartore said, responding to questions by email. “The Photo Ark gives them a voice, perhaps for the only time in their existence.”

With Sartore’s stunning, large-format prints, visitors come eye to eye with a selection of the more than 8,000 species of mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, amphibians, and even insects that Sartore has photographed at zoos, wildlife sanctuaries and aquariums in dozens of countries.

They include a green springbok mantis grooming its triangular head, critically endangered Sumatran tiger resting Sphinx-like with its front paws crossed and a veiled chameleon standing on its hind legs to stare into a camera lens.

“Joel tries to capture the particular personality of the animal and species,” said Katie Hollander, director at the Annenberg Space for Photography, praising the simplicity of the photographer’s approach. …

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