Photo Ark

Stunning photographs form urgent call to action from a 21st-century Noah

‘Let’s see what we can #SaveTogether’ urges this striking 1-minute ad for Photo Ark, a 25-year wildlife conservation project between photographer Joel Sartore and National Geographic. We’ve earlier covered Joel’s work at Goodvertising and we’re big fans!

Sartore, National Geographic’s Explorer of the Year 2018, is on a mission to make us care about wildlife before it’s too late, one photo at a time.

Like India’s Jadav Payeng, who has single-handedly turned a barren area into a forest larger than New York’s Central Park by planting one tree a day for the past 39 years, Sartore is a man with an environmental vision.

His aim is to photograph every species in captivity in the world as a call to action to stop them dying out and being lost to us for ever. The 25-year project, in conjunction with National Geographic, is called Photo Ark.

Some of the animals Sartore’s photographed have been the last of their kind, with wild populations disappearing as a result of human activity and environmental change.

“It is folly to think that we can destroy one species and ecosystem after another and not affect humanity,” says Sartore. “When we save species, we’re actually saving ourselves.”

He uses black and white backgrounds, as reflected in the ad, because it makes all animals appear to be the same size, regardless of how large or small they are in the wild. “If you look closely enough, a tortoise is as magnificent as a tiger.”

He started the project in his home town of Nebraska, U.S.A., and now travels the world speaking about the Ark and steadily gathering more images for it. He has to date captured 8,000 species on camera.

“I want people around the world to look these animals in the eye, and then fall in love with creatures as dazzling as a pheasant or as odd as an octopus,” says Sartore.

And it’s not just about looking – he wants action from all of us. “I believe all of us have a great capacity to care. And when we do, we can accomplish amazing things.”

Does the ad make you want to change your thinking or take some action?

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Tree Elven

Tree Elven is a creative who thinks big, values simplicity and just loves life. She's the founder of ADDS, an independent voting platform where the public can have some fun and have their say on the quality of today's advertising.