21 intimate portraits of rare, endangered, and disappearing animals.

Nature feels different when you can actually look it in the eyes.

For more than two years, photographer Tim Flach has been capturing images of rare, threatened, and endangered animals.

Many of Flach's photos were purposefully framed to resemble portraits of humans, focusing in on the animals' faces. The effect is striking — there's a lot of great nature photography out there, but seeing an eagle from a distance and getting to make eye contact are two very different experiences.


Giant pandas live in bamboo forests in China. It's estimated there are just over 1,800 left in the wild. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

After all, there's some frisson about looking into someone's eyes — a small thrill, or fear, or excitement that comes from the sudden intimacy.

Capturing that frisson wasn't always easy, though. Some shots were taken in nature preserves or zoos, but Flach also travelled the world to find his subjects — including the wobbly-nosed saiga below.

The saiga's ridiculous nose might help filter and warm the cold air it breathes. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

Saiga are wild antelope that live near the Caspian Sea, where locals hunt them down on mopeds. In order to get their portrait, Flach originally had travelled to the region in the summer, but the weather ended up being so hot, it actually distorted his pictures of the rare antelope. He had to go back during the (equally harsh) winter to get the shot.

Flach has now turned his project into a book, "Endangered," which was published by Abrams and is available online. If you want to see more of Flach's portraits, check out 21 more of them below:

1. Axolotl

Axolotl hail from Mexico and, unlike most salamanders, keep their gills their entire lives. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

2. Beluga sturgeon

Demand for beluga caviar has led to heavy fishing of this massive fish. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

3. Bengal tiger

Bengal tigers are some of the biggest wild cats in the world. Fewer than 2,500 may still live in the wild. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

4. Blue-throated macaw

Blue-throated macaws live in Bolivia and are threatened by the illegal pet trade. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

5. Chimpanzee

Chimpanzees are some of humanity's closest living animal relatives. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

6. Crowned sifaka lemur

Sifakas, like all lemurs, are endemic to Madagascar. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

7. Golden snub-nosed monkey

These monkeys live in central and southwest China. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

8. Iberian lynx

There used to be less than 100 of these rare wild cats, but thanks to conservation efforts, their numbers are rebounding. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

9. Gharial

Gharials are related to crocodiles and live around India and Pakistan. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

10. Lemur leaf frog

Lemur leaf frogs are natives to Central and South America and threatened by habitat loss and fungus. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

11. Mandrill

Mandrills are the world's largest monkey and live in Central Africa. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

12. Northern white rhino

Northern white rhinos are some of the rarest animals on Earth. As of this writing, only three may remain. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

13. Philippines eagle

One of the largest eagles in the world, the Phillipine eagle is known for eating monkeys. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

14. Pied tamarin

These monkeys come from a single, tiny area in Brazil. The word "pied" refers to their multicolored heads and bodies. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

15. Proboscis monkey

Hahaha, look at that schnoz. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

16. Ring-tailed lemur

Ring-tailed lemurs are some of Madagascar's most recognizable denizens. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

17. Sea angels

Though these sea angels might look like little airplanes, they are, in fact, a kind of free-swimming slug. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

18. Shoebill

Shoebills live in eastern Africa and are kind of intimidating, if I'm being honest. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

19. Snow leopard

Snow leopards live high in the Himalayas and are famous for their stealth and jumping ability. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

20. Western lowland gorilla

The Western Lowland Gorilla's scientific name is Gorilla gorilla gorilla. That's awesome. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

21. White-bellied pangolin

Pangolins are some of the most trafficked animals in the world. Photo from Tim Flach/Tim Flach Photography Ltd./Abrams, used with permission.

Flach hopes that by framing these rare and endangered animals in this way, it can help people reconnect with nature.

We come from the natural world and depend on it. As our lives become more digital and removed, we need a way to reconnect to the other animals that share the planet with us.

"The most important message is that it’s not simply images of animals but that every aspect of our being is influenced by the natural world around us," Flach told The Guardian.

If you want to see more of Flach's work, follow his Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, or visit his website. His book, "Endangered," is available from the publisher's website.

Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less

Like millions of others, I tuned in last night to watch Oprah Winfrey's interview with (former) Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Although watching "The Crown" has admittedly piqued my curiosity about the Royal Family, I've never had any particular interest in following the drama in real life. As inconsequential as the un-royaling of Harry and Meghan is to me personally, it's a historically and socially significant development.

The story touches so many hot buttons at once—power, wealth, tradition, sexism, racism, colonialism, family drama, freedom, security, and the media. But as I sat and watched the first hour of just Oprah and Meghan Markle talking, I was struck by the simple significance of what I was seeing.

Here were two Black women, one who had battled sexism and racism in her industry and broke countless barriers to create her own empire, and one who has battled racism and sexism to protect her babies, whose royal lineage can be traced back through 1,200 years of rule over the British Empire. And the conversation these women were having had the power to take down—or at least do real damage to—one of the longest-standing monarchies in the world.

Whoa.

Keep Reading Show less
Tory Burch

Courtesy of Tory Burch

True

This March marks one year since the start of the pandemic… and it's been an incredibly difficult year: Over 500,000 people have died and hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs. But the pandemic's economic downturn has been disproportionately affecting women because they are more likely to work in hard-hit industries, such as hospitality or entertainment, and many of them have been forced to leave their jobs due to the lack of childcare.

But throughout all that hardship, women have, over and over again, found ways to help one another and solve problems.

"Around the world, women have stepped up and found ways to help where it is needed most," says Tory Burch, an entrepreneur who started her own business in 2004.

Burch knows a thing or two about empowering women: After seeing the many obstacles that women in business face — even before the pandemic — she created the Tory Burch Foundation in 2009 to empower women entrepreneurs.

And now, for International Women's Day, her company is launching a global campaign with Upworthy to celebrate the women around the world who give back and create real change in their communities.

"I hope the creativity and resilience of these women, and the amazing ways they have found to have real impact, will inspire and energize others as much as they have me," Burch says.

This year's Empowered Women certainly are inspiring:

Shalini SamtaniCourtesy of Shalini Samtani

Take, for example, Shalini Samtani. When her daughter was diagnosed with a rare immune disorder, she spent a lot of time in the hospital, which caused her to quickly realize that there wasn't a single company in the toy industry servicing the physical or emotional needs of the 3 million hospitalized children across America every year. She was determined to change that — so she created The Spread the Joy Foundation to deliver free play kits to pediatric patients all around the country.

Varsha YajmanCourtesy of Varsha Yajman

Varsha Yajman is another one of this year's nominees. She is just 18 years old, and yet she has been diligently fighting to build awareness and action for climate justice for the last seven years by leading school strikes, working as a paralegal with Equity Generations Lawyers, and speaking to CEOs from Siemen's and several big Australian banks at AGMs.

Caitlin MurphyCourtesy of Caitlin Murphy

Caitlin Murphy, meanwhile, stepped up in a big way during the pandemic by pivoting her business — Global Gateway Logistics — to secure and transport over 2 million masks to hospitals and senior care facilities across the country. She also created the Gateway for Good program, which purchased and donated 10,000 KN95 masks for local small businesses, charities, cancer patients and their families, immunocompromised, and churches in the area.

Simone GordonCourtesy of Simone Gordon

Simone Gordon, a domestic violence survivor and single mom, wanted to pay it forward after she received help getting essentials and tuition assistance — so she created the Instagram account @TheBlackFairyGodMotherOfficial and nonprofit to provide direct assistance to families in need. During the pandemic alone, they have raised over $50,000 for families and they have provided emergency assistance — in the form of groceries — for numerous women and families of color.

Victoria SanusiCourtesy of Victoria Sanusi

Victoria Sanusi started Black Gals Livin' with her friend Jas and the podcast has been an incredibly powerful way of destigmatizing mental health for numerous listeners. The podcast quickly surpassed a million listens, was featured on Michaela Coel's "I May Destroy You," won podcast of the year at the Brown Sugar Awards, and was named one of Elle Magazine's best podcasts of 2020.

And Upworthy and the Tory Burch are just getting started. They are still searching the globe for more extraordinary women who are making an impact in their communities.

Do you know one? If you do, nominate her now. If she's selected, she could receive $5,000 to give to a nonprofit of her choice through the Tory Burch Foundation. Submissions are being accepted on a rolling basis — and one Empowered woman will be selected each month starting in April.

Nominate her now at www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen.

popular

When 59 children died on Christmas Eve 1913, the world cried with the town of Calumet, Michigan.

Woody Guthrie sang about this little-known piece of history.

True
AFL Labor Mini Series

A one-man drill operation

In July 1913, over 7,000 miners struck the C&H Copper Mining Company in Calumet, Michigan. It was largely the usual issues of people who worked for a big company during a time when capitalists ran roughshod over their workers — a time when monopolies were a way of life. Strikers' demands included pay raises, an end to child labor, and safer conditions including an end to one-man drill operations, as well as support beams in the mines (which mine owners didn't want because support beams were costly but miners killed in cave-ins “do not cost us anything.")

Keep Reading Show less

Few child actors ever get to star in an award-winning film, much less win a prestigious award for their performance. That fact appeared to hit home for 8-year-old Alan Kim, as he broke down in tears accepting his Critics' Choice Award for Best Young Actor/Actress, making for one of the sweetest moments in awards show history.

Kim showed up to the awards (virtually, of course) decked out in a tuxedo, and his parents had even laid out a red carpet in their entryway to give him a taste of the real awards show experience. When his name was announced as the Critics' Choice winner for his role in the film "Minari," his reaction was priceless.

Grinning from ear to ear, Kim started off his acceptance speech by thanking "the critics who voted" and his family. But as soon as he started naming his family members, he burst into tears. "Oh my goodness, I'm crying," he said. Through sobs, he kept going with his list, naming members of the cast, the production company, and the crew that worked on the film.

"I hope I will be in other movies," he added. Then, the cutest—he pinched his own cheeks and asked, "Is this a dream? I hope it's not a dream."

Keep Reading Show less