Watch: Wildlife Photos Come To Gathering Place For National Geographic Photo Ark

Friday, April 29th 2022, 10:22 am

TULSA, Oklahoma -

A display of wildlife photos taken around the world opens Saturday at the Gathering Place.

The National Geographic Photo Ark exhibit showcases 46 images of Oklahoma's own species.

Each of the species either lives in Oklahoma or passes through the state. Photos range from tiny insects, all the way to larger animals like the bison.

The photographer says one important thing was capturing eye contact because he says that's what impacts people.

Joel Sartore is originally from Ponca City. Now, he travels the world for the project, the National Geographic Photo Ark.

It’s a multi-year effort to raise awareness about animal conservation and find solutions.

His goal is to photograph every species living in zoos, aquariums, and wildlife sanctuaries

He says many of the animals were born in zoos and others were in wildlife rehab.

The exhibit includes everything from fish, birds, mammals, and insects.

He uses black and white backgrounds with studio lighting to bring out the color and detail.

He says for small animals go into a tent and don't see or hear people.

Sartore says the shoots are quick to keep it stress-free.

The bigger animals like bison are prepped by getting fed in the room in advance, so they're already comfortable.

Sartore has photographed more than 12,000 species and he estimates the completed ark will include more than 20,000.

Before starting the project, he spent years taking photos of animals in the wild.

"And then I started doing studio portraits where it's more intimate, and people started paying attention,” Sartore said. "The goal is to get every captive species in the world over about a 30-year period and try to get people to pay attention to something other than politics and who won the ball game, you know, the things that matter, like the future of life on earth."

The exhibit will be at the ONEOK Boathouse at the Gathering Place through July, and it's free to check out.

It opens Saturday morning, and there will be events and all kinds of activities for kids.

Plus, every Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in May through July, you can meet animals up close and learn about them.