Nebraska Authors

Joel Sartore

Born 1962 Ponca City, OK (USA)

Image of Joel Sartore

Image of Joel Sartore

Joel Sartore was born in Ponca City, Oklahoma, and is a speaker, author, and teacher, as well as a famed National Geographic photographer known world-wide for his work on environmental subjects and endangered species. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Journalism. He has contributed to Audubon Magazine, GEO, Time, Life, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated. His work has been discussed in numerous national broadcasts such as NPR’s Weekend Edition, National Geographic’s Explorer, the NBC Nightly News, and the PBS documentary At Close Range. He is the founder of the National Geographic Photo Ark project, which aims to photograph 15,000 animal species located in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries around the world. By May 2020 he had photograhed 10,000 species. Sartore is also known for his family's restoration of the Lewis-Syford house, the fourth oldest house in Lincoln, Nebraska. He is co-founder of The Conservation Alliance of the Great Plains, and he lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Other Nebraska nature photographers: Michael Forsberg, Thomas Mangelsen

Places Lived

Ralston, NE
Lincoln, NE
Wichita, KS

Author Of

  • Visual Work
  • Nonfiction
  • Journalism


Environment; Ecology; Photography


Bachelor's Degree in Journalism, 1985, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE


Photographer for National Geographic

Places Worked

National Geographic


1986 National Press Photographers Association Photographer of the Year for Region 7
1987 won a sweepstakes award for photography from Inland Daily Press Association
Has won a series of single awards from the Pictures of the Year competition
Award of Excellence in the Magazine Photographer of the Year category at the 1992 Picture of the Year competition
Nebraska Literary Heritage Association’s Literary Heritage Award, 2013
Nebraska 150 Books Honor for Nebraska: Under a Big Red Sky, 2017
“150 Notable Nebraskans”, Number 79 on the Journal Star Sesquicentennial List of Significant Nebraskans


Close association with Julia Dean


The Company We Keep: America's Endangered Species. 1996.
Under a Big Red Sky: Nebraska. 1999.
Face to Face with Grizzlies. 2007.
Visions of Lincoln: Nebraska's Capitol City in the Present, Past, and Future. with Jim McKee, 2007.
Photographing Your Family. with Ann Healey, 2008.
Rare: Portraits of America's Endangered Species. 2010.
Let's Be Reasonable. 2011.
Fundamentals of Photography. 2012.
The Photo Ark : One Man's Quest to Document the World's Animals. 2017.
Photo Ark Wonders: Celebrating Diversity in the Animal Kingdom. 2019.
Photo Ark ABC. with Debbie Levy, 2019.

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Joel Sartore

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)