National Geographic Photo Ark Wonders: Celebrating Diversity in the Animal Kingdom

National Geographic. Oct. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9781426221910. $40. REF
Longtime National Geographic photographer Sartore presents another stunning installment in his “Photo Ark” project (following The Photo Ark Vanishing), which is a bid to capture the approximately 20,000 species in zoos, aquariums, and wildlife sanctuaries worldwide and to bring attention to the importance of conservation. He’s photographed more than 11,000 animals so far (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates); this particular volume features 462 species. Sartore introduces it by explaining the project’s origins and his family’s involvement; text is brief throughout. The portraits are organized into four chapters: “Silhouette” (creatures with notable shapes); “Pattern” (animals with interesting markings); “Going to Extremes” (animals with unusual attributes, like the guereza, a monkey with a tail longer than its body); and “Attitude” (often-anthropomorphized creatures, like the “famously ornery” cassowary). Though the set-ups are uniform—animals are photographed against a white or black background—the overall effect is one of startling variety. Clever pairings across pages accentuate similarities and differences. Stunning facial close-ups, contrasts in focal depth, and bold, out-of-frame experiments ensure a “wow!” response on nearly every page. Sartore eschews size comparisons—here, a millipede is as large as an antelope—which underlines his message that every species is important and each is uniquely beautiful.
VERDICT “I want people to care,” says Sartore, “to fall in love, and to take action.” Mission accomplished. An essential purchase for most collections.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing