Dec. 8, 2021

Photographer Ami Vitale on Following Your Heart and Documenting Stories of Hope

Photographer Ami Vitale documents endangered animals and the special bonds they share with their caretakers. This week on the , we interview Ami Vitale and get a behind-the-scenes look at how she captured some of her most stunning work. You may have...


Photographer Ami Vitale documents endangered animals and the special bonds they share with their caretakers. This week on the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast, we interview Ami Vitale and get a behind-the-scenes look at how she captured some of her most stunning work.

You may have seen one of her more famous images featured on the front cover of National Geographic Magazine following the death of Sudan, the world's last male Northern White Rhino, or her coverage of the rescue operation to save a stranded community of endangered Rothschild Giraffes with a raft. In our chat, Ami Vitale answers your listener questions and delves into how she went from documenting violence in conflict zones to shedding light on stories of hope in wildlife conservation.

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Read more about Ami Vitale's work and the projects we discuss:

100 of the World's Top Photographers Use Their Art to Help The Environment [Interview]

Giraffes Left Stranded by Flooding in Kenya Are Dramatically Rescued by a Special Barge

Photographer Wears Panda Suit Disguise to Snap Candid Pictures of Them in Nature 

Ami Vitale

Filmmaker and Photographer

Nikon Ambassador and National Geographic magazine photographer Ami Vitale has lived in mud huts and war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit—all in keeping with her philosophy of “living the story.” She has traveled to more than 100 countries, bearing witness not only to violence and conflict, but also to surreal beauty and to the enduring power of the human spirit. Recently, she has turned her lens to compelling wildlife stories, such as returning critically endangered, captive-born species like the giant pandas back to the wild, and attempts to save the last living northern white rhinos from extinction.

Vitale’s work is exhibited worldwide in museums, galleries, and private collections. She has garnered prestigious awards including multiple prizes from World Press Photo, the International Photographer of the Year prize, and the Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding Reporting. She has also been named Magazine Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographer's Association. She is a founding member of Ripple Effect Images, a collective of scientists, writers, photographers and filmmakers who document challenges facing women and girls in developing countries and donate that media to the organizations to assist in fundraising. She is chair of the Photographers Advisory Board for National Geographic magazine photographers and also a member of the Executive Advisory Committee of the Alexia Foundation's Photojournalism Advisory Board. Based in Montana, Vitale is a contract photographer with National Geographic magazine and frequently gives inspiring talks and workshops throughout the world.