Vanishing: The World’s Most Vulnerable Animals (National Geographic, $40), by Joel Sartore, is unlike any other photography book. Sartore is a National Geographic Fellow and photographer. After a career of wildlife photography documenting the loss of species and the desperate need for conservation, Sartore felt he needed to change his approach. Despite his efforts, extinctions continued unabated with no systemic response from humankind. To help raise the alarm, fifteen years ago Sartore founded the Photo Ark project. Its continuing mission has been to create portraits of all the animals in human care worldwide. The reason for this new focus was simple and yet profound: wildlife centers have become the last refuge for many creatures facing extinction. By creating studio-like conditions where animals would be comfortable, Sartore was able to capture stunning and moving portraits. You have never seen images like these. The level of detail and intimacy each one conveys is both breathtaking and heartbreaking. Another key facet of Sartore’s method is to present all animals equally, giving species that typically do not capture the popular imagination the same space as those that do. Accompanying the portraits is text that also powerfully conveys the dire circumstances of animal life on this planet and the desperate need for action.
Vanishing by Joel Sartore