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Animal Photography: Portraits of endangered species

(People's Daily Online)

08:27, May 23, 2012

An African elephant at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado, United States (huanqiu.com Photo)

Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

For over 20 years, Joel Sartore has been a freelance photographer working for National Geographic magazines. Around seven years ago, he set up his own studio, taking portraits of endangered species.

The goal is simple, to show what’s at stake, and to get people to care and love these animals. With the experiences of wild shooting, working in studio has made the shooting more interesting and attractive. As Joel mentioned, the whole point of the project is to see them with your eyes and know them with your heart. They all look very beautiful and when you are so close to them, you may find all kinds of expressions on their faces, anger, humor and pride.

There are millions of animal species threatened with extinction and his work only covered a small part, which are mostly based in the United States. This is because the whole project is self funded and with limited conditions, it’s very difficult to shoot abroad. The National Geography magazine once helped him sell all the pictures he shot and people may see these pictures on his studio’s website.

Joel believes that everything including these animals can be seen as a piece of art. The project is very well balanced, since an endangered rat is just as important as an endangered polar bear. Of course, the photographer has his own favorite “friend”, Harapan, a 4 years old Sumatra rhinoceros. This species is also one of the oldest kinds of mammal animals in the world.

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