Photo #14

Photographer Joel Sartore
Photographer Joel Sartore

We have a very non-nature-based life. That’s why zoos and aquariums are so important. It’s the only place now where the public can go and actually see something without it being on a screen. It’s real, these things are real.”  (National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore)

Satore’s passion and avocation is taking photos of 6,000 animals in zoos and aquariums before they don’t exist anymore:

“”The goal of this project is to get people to look these things in the eye before they go extinct,” he says. “Not everything I shoot is rare, but a lot is. … Look these species in the eye and tell me you don’t care about them. They’re amazing and they’re funny and they’re sad and they’re lazy and they’re energetic and they’re mean and they’re aggressive and they’re everything we are.”

I’m not easily inspired but this project inspires me, combining exquisite photography and the desperate, respectful way Sartore is looking these animals in the eye and reminding us of their worth and beauty. I’m also inspired, and have been for a long time, to live a more nature-based life. One that is more in tune with the seasons (semi-hibernating in winter, outside most of the time in summer); more noticing of the sounds, smells, sights, textures, and colours around me; more engaged with nature every day, whether by taking a walk in the woods or on the beach or in town,or  snowshoeing, or sitting outside and observing, or carrying a camera with me to remind me to pay attention …  be astonished

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