Grizzlies, Piranhas and Man-Eating Pigs with Joel Sartore, Photographer and National Geographic Fellow

Grizzlies, Piranhas and Man-Eating Pigs with Joel Sartore, Photographer and National Geographic Fellow

Experience what it’s like to be on assignment for the world’s greatest magazine. Sartore has learned the hard way that there’s a lot more to it than just capturing amazing places and cultures — there’s also a chance things can go terribly wrong, and they often do. In this lively presentation, Sartore shares an intimate and humorous look at what could be the best — and worst — job in the world as he plays expedition leader, psychologist, medic, and coach, as well as photographer, on expedition with National Geographic.

Wielding his camera in the battle to conserve natural spaces and the habitats they support, Joel Sartore has contributed to over 30 stories in more than 20 years on assignment for National Geographic. These assignments have taken him to some of the world’s most beautiful and challenging environments, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and he has photographed everything from the remote Amazon to beer-drinking, mountain-racing firefighters in the United Kingdom. Read more under About the Show and What to Expect.

Jan. 14 Ferguson Hall
  • Photos by Joel Sartore

    Tickets from $25.

    Ticket prices are subject to change without notice and will increase based on demand.

    Sponsored by:

We Recommend

Diving Pristine Seas with Enric Sala, Marine Ecologist The Search for Life Beyond Earth with Kevin Hand, Planetary Scientist/Astrobiologist


Show Dates & Times

Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Jan. 14, 2014

What to Expect

Joel Sartore is a photographer, speaker, author, teacher, and a 20-year contributor to National Geographic magazine. His hallmarks are a sense of humor and a Midwestern work ethic.

Joel’s assignments have taken him to every continent and to the world’s most beautiful and challenging environments, from the High Arctic to the Antarctic. Simply put, Joel is on a mission to document endangered species and landscapes in order to show a world worth saving.

His interest in nature started in childhood, when he learned about the very last passenger pigeon from one of his mother’s "Time-Life" picture books. He has since been chased by a wide variety of species, including wolves, grizzlies, musk oxen, lions, elephants, and polar bears.

His first National Geographic assignments introduced him to nature photography and allowed him to see human impact on the environment first-hand. In his words, “It is folly to think that we can destroy one species and ecosystem after another and not affect humanity. When we save species, we’re actually saving ourselves.”

Joel has written several books, including "RARE: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species," "Photographing Your Family," and "Nebraska: Under a Big Red Sky." His most recent book is "Let’s Be Reasonable," a collection of essays from the CBS Sunday Morning Show. All of his books are available through his website or wherever books are sold.

In addition to the work he has done for National Geographic, Joel has contributed to Audubon Magazine, Geo, Time, Life, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, and numerous book projects. Joel and his work have been the subjects of several national broadcasts, including National Geographic’s Explorer, the NBC Nightly News, NPR’s Weekend Edition and an hour-long PBS documentary, At Close Range. He is also a contributor on the CBS Sunday Morning Show with Charles Osgood.

Joel is always happy to return from his travels around the world to his home in Lincoln, Neb., where he lives with his wife Kathy and their three children.

About the Show

From being chased by angry and hungry animals to dancing with rattlesnakes to surviving multiple traffic accidents in far-flung places, Joel Sartore has repeatedly put himself at risk to get the story. He’s suffered infection by a flesh-eating parasite, and recently experienced a Marburg virus scare (bat guano!) that caused the CDC to airlift him from assignment and quarantine him for three weeks. Why subject yourself to this? Simply put, to document endangered species and incredible landscapes that show a world well worth saving.

Joel’s recent assignments have taken him to East Africa’s Albertine Rift, where abundant wildlife competes with an exploding human population, and to zoos around the world to photograph the planet’s entire spectrum of endangered species for his ongoing Biodiversity Project. Find out what being a National Geographic photographer is really like from someone who has paved the way — and reaped the rewards.


Here's what the audience members said:

“As a serious amateur photographer, I was spellbound by the information shared with me by Joel Sartore.”

“Joel (Sartore), in particular, was an incredible storyteller.”

“Really loved Joel Sartore! He was great fun.”

“Terrific photography and story line.”


Defining Moment – The mother grizzly was feeding on salmon with her cubs when he surprised her. She didn’t make a sound – no snarling or roaring – but just charged as if she was shot out of a gun, head down, mouth shut. The photographer was so surprised and overwhelmed, he couldn’t move. Fortunately, she came to a halt just five yards away. Slowly, he backed up, keeping his eyes down the way he had seen other bears back away from fights, until he was finally out of sight. “I still have two months to go out here,” thought Joel Sartore. “Talk about a long assignment.”