LOS ANGELES — The conventional wisdom is that public sympathy is evoked by seeing one person in need of help, not the many.
Photographer Joel Sartore has staked a decade of his life, and counting, that the same holds true for animals and the imperiled wonder they represent.
As detailed in PBS’ “Rare: Creatures of the Photo Ark,” Sartore is on a quest to capture images of the roughly 12,000 species in captivity around the world, including rare and endangered ones, to persuade us they are worth protecting. The three-part series debuted at July 18 on PBS stations and online.
Sartore’s subjects, ranging from majestic elephants to comical insects, are placed against an elegantly spare black or white background. There is an unsettling challenge in the gaze of mammals, or so Sartore’s artistic lens makes it seem.
“The animals are the poetry. They’re beautiful works of art,” Sartore said in an interview. “They do all the talking. My job is to get out of the way.”