Sebastian Copeland

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Sebastian Copeland (born 3 April 1964) is an award winning photographer, polar explorer, author, lecturer, and environmental activist.[1] He has led numerous expeditions in the polar regions to photograph and film endangered environments. In 2015, Copeland was named one of the world's top 50 adventurers by Men's Journal. He is a fellow of The Explorers Club. His documentary Into the Cold was a featured selection at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival and was released on DVD timed to Earth Day 2011.[2]

Sebastian Copeland stands at the geographical North Pole 2009.jpg

He is a public speaker and polar consultant. He has addressed audiences at the United Nations, The World Affairs Council, The George Eastman House, and Fortune 500 companies such as Hewlett Packard, Google, and Apple Inc., as well as colleges[3] and museums. He is actor Orlando Bloom's cousin.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Copeland is the son of the director of the Lille National Philharmonic Orchestra, Jean-Claude Casadesus. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the UCLA Film School.[1] He is also the grandson of actors Lucien Pascal and Gisèle Casadesus and the brother of Olivier Casadesus


Copeland began his career in New York City directing music videos before moving on to commercial directing as well as professional photography with credits including fashion and advertising, album covers, and celebrities. His music video work has included work for Branford Marsalis, Harry Connick, Jr. and Hall and Oates.[1]

His career in still photography has ranged from celebrities to ad campaigns for Hollywood Studios such as Universal Studios, Disney, Warner Brothers and Paramount Pictures. His studio credits include promotional work for The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Pirates of the Caribbean and Seabiscuit.

Since 2000, Copeland has focused his work on climate change. His prints have appeared in exhibitions including the United Nations (Solo Show, 2007), the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Peabody Essex Museum as well as the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, among others. His works can also be found in private collections in Europe and the United States where several have been included in The Natural World Museum in San Francisco’s permanent archive. In 2006 and 2007 prints from his first book, Antarctica: The Global Warning, were selected to tour with the International Photography Awards' "Best in Show" world tour. Antarctica garnered much attention, winning Copeland the 2007 Photographer of the Year award in the book category.[4]

His photographs have been published in GQ, Marie Claire, Men's Journal, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, Elle, People, USA Today, W, Interview Magazine, Publisher’s Weekly, The New York Times, House & Garden, Paris Match and National Geographic.

Copeland writes for Men's Journal and Huffington Post. He has made keynote addresses at the United Nations, The Planet Workshops,[5] Google, Apple, UCLA and the Hammer Museum. Copeland has been featured on TV and radio including on Larry King, CBS, NPR, Air America, The Weather Channel and Al Gore's 24 Hours of Reality.

He is also on the Board of Directors for Global Green and Shine On Sierra Leone, a non-governmental organisation providing educational support for the children of war-torn nations.[1]


In 2005, Copeland led a media initiative in the Arctic in defense of the Inuit's loss of culture from climate change for Global Green USA.

In 2006 and 2007, Copeland spent two seasons aboard the scientific research ice breaker The Ice Lady Patagonia in the Antarctic Peninsula.

In 2008, Copeland and partner Luc Hardy led a group of nine children from international backgrounds to the northernmost edge of the Canadian arctic, on Ellesmere island.

In 2009 Copeland mounted an expedition to the North Pole to commemorate the centennial of Admiral Robert Peary’s expedition in 1909.[6] Footage of the expedition was used in the documentary Into the Cold: A Journey of the Soul, which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2010.

In 2010, Copeland traversed 2,300 kilometers of Greenland's ice flats from south to north on a Kite skiing expedition. His expedition was meant to raise awareness of global warming. He documented the journey with his camera and posted live updates through Facebook and Twitter.[7] The expedition lasted 44 days[8] and earned Copeland and partner Eric McNair Landry the new kite skiing distance World Record by covering the longest distance in a 24-hour period: 595 kilometers.[9][10]

Copeland led the Antarctica 2011–2012 Legacy Crossing. Over 82 days between November 4, 2011 and January 24, 2012 Sebastian and partner Eric McNair-Landry were the first to cross the Antarctica icecap from east to west via two of its poles. They used kites and skis, setting three new polar records in the process.[11] Pulling 400 pounds (180 kg) of supplies each, they were the first to reach the Antarctica Pole of Inaccessibility (POI) from the Novolazarevskaya station on Antarctica's East coast by non-motorized means and without assistance. They were also the first to link the POI to the South Pole without motorized transportation. On January 24, 2012, they finally reached Hercules Inlet, effectively linking the eastern and western coast of Antarctica after covering an adjusted distance of about 4,100 kilometers.

In August 2016 Copeland and partner Mark George crossed Australia's Simpson Desert on foot and without support, pulling all water and supplies on two-wheels carts. Their 651 km west-to-east crossing was the longest latitudinal traverse without motorized transportation.

In 2017, Copeland and partner Mark George attempted an unsupported mission on foot from Canada to the North Pole. Severe frostbites forced the team to abort mission after two days during a -60C cold spell. The fail can be found on the expedition blog.

Recent activities[edit]

Copeland is a mountain and climbing enthusiast.

In 2005, Sebastian co-organized a media initiative in the Arctic with Global Green USA in defense of the Inuit's cultural loss to climate change. After two trips to Antarctica, in 2006 and 2007, he decided to try to combine fine art photography, adventure and environmental concerns. In 2007, Copeland released his first book Antarctica: The Global Warning followed in 2009 with Antarctica: A Call To Action.[12] Copeland was named 2007's International Photographer of the Year in the book category.[13]

In 2013, in Copeland completed his second documentary, Across The Ice: The Greenland Victory March.

In 2015, Copeland published a best-selling photographic book, Arctica: The Vanishing North published by teNeues. Arctica is a comprehensive visual record of the North Pole, including a foreword by Sir Richard Branson and accompanying texts by Andrew J. Weaver, Dr. Ted Scambos, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Sheila Watt-Cloutier and Børge Ousland. Copeland was named Photographer of the Year by the Tokyo Int'l Photo Awards for this book.

Copeland currently lives in Los Angeles.[1] He continues to lead expeditions to remote parts of the world to which he hopes will increase awareness of global warming.[14]


Copeland was named German GQ's Man of the Year for environmental leadership in 2008.[1] Copeland received the German Gala award in 2010 for his environmental engagement. He received the Global Green USA Founder's Award in 2010. He received the Eckart 2016 Award from Eckart Witzigmann and BMW for environmental leadership.

Selected photography awards[edit]

  • 2006: International Photography Awards- 1st Place Professional Nature Category & 1st Place Professional Special Category
  • 2007: Photo District News (PDN) Awards—Merit Award—Extreme Exploration
  • 2007: PX3 Awards—2nd Prize winner Professional Category—Landscape & 3rd Prize Winner Professional Category—Other
  • 2007: International Photography Awards (IPA) --Professional Photographer of the Year Book Category for Antarctica: The Global Warning
  • 2008: Prix du Cercle Polaire—Official Selection Antarctica: The Global Warning
  • 2008: Photography Masters Cup—International Color Awards: Wildlife Honorable Mention
  • 2008: Prix Pictet—Shortlist finalist—nominated by a "global nominations panel of 49 leading experts in the visual arts, from six continents" which "made over 200 nominations from 43 countries" from which the seven judges have short listed 18 photographers "who have produced works that are of outstanding artistic merit and communicate messages of urgent global significance."
  • 2009: International Photography Awards (IPA) -- 3rd Place—Professional Book Category: Nature (Antarctica: A Call To Action) & 3rd Place—Professional Fine Art: Nature
  • 2010: Photography Masters Cup—International Color Awards: 3rd Place—Honor of Distinction: Nature
  • 2011: Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Finalist
  • 2011: Px3 Prix de la Photographie Paris—Gold Award – Professional Press Nature/Environmental Category
  • 2012: Epson Pano Awards—Bronze Award, Category Nature
  • 2012: Arctic Awards -- FIAP Medal & PSA The Arctic ribbon
  • 2013: Arctic Awards -- PSA Gold Medal
  • 2014 PX3 Silver Award—Professional Fine Art
  • 2015 Windland Smith Rice International Awards—Highly Honored Winner in both Polar Passion and Outdoor Adventure
  • 2016 PX3 Silver Award—Nature Category
  • 2016 Tokyo Int'l Photography Award—Photographer of the Year for the book Arctica: The Vanishing North

Book awards[edit]

  • 2007: International Photography Awards (IPA) Professional Photographer of the Year—Book Category Antarctica: The Global Warning
  • 2009: Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award—Silver Award: Environment Category Antarctica: A Call To Action
  • 2009: Book Expo America—Silver Award—Environmental Books: Antarctica—A Call To Action
  • 2016: ITB Berlin—Book of the Year Award "Arctica: The Vanishing North"
  • 2016: Global Arctic Awards—Best Book "Arctica: The Vanishing North"
  • 2016: Tokyo International Photography Awards (TIFA) Photographer of the Year for the book Arctica: The Vanishing North

Selected film awards[edit]

Into the Cold
  • 2009 Los Angeles Reel Film Festival—Best Director, Best Voice Over, 2nd Place Feature Documentary
  • 2010 Indie Spirit Film Festival—Best Sport/Adventure Documentary
  • 2010 Tribeca Film Festival—Official Selection Documentary
  • 2010 Cinema For Peace – Jury Special Prize
  • 2010 Environmental Film Festival - Official Selection
  • 2010 Blue Planet Film Festival - Official Selection
  • 2011 Victoria Film Festival - Official Selection
  • 2011 Action on Film International Film Festival - Official Selection
  • 2012 Arctic Light Doc Festival - Official Selection


Solo Photo Exhibitions[edit]

  • 2006: Napapijri Gallery Soho; The Global Warning — New York, July 2006
  • 2007: Trans Photographiques 2007; Presented by the city of Lille, France, Celebrity Portraits, Spr. 2007
  • 2007: Council On Foreign Relations New York, Antarctica—The Global Warning September–November 2007
  • 2007: United Nations, New York, Antarctica: The Global Warning October 26-December 2, 2007
  • 2007: Salon Imperial, Paris, Antarctica: The Global Warning Nov. 27th-Dec. 16th 2007
  • 2008: Jan Kesner Gallery Los Angeles, Antarctica: The Global Warning Nov. 2007 – Jan. 2008
  • 2008: BREAD Show, Barcelona Antarctica Sponsored by Napapijri January 20–27, 2008
  • 2008: Flo Peters Gallery Hamburg Germany, Antarctica—The Global Warning April 24-May 24, 2008
  • 2008: Napapijri Gallery Milan, Italy Solo Show Antarctica June 23, 2008—September 15, 2008
  • 2008: Transfotografia—Poland Photography Festival, Gdansk Poland Celebrity Portraits August 27, 2008 – September 19, 2008
  • 2008: SLO Museum Art Center, San Luis Obispo, California, USA, Antarctica: The Global Warning, October 15-November 30, 2008
  • 2013: Bernheimer Gallery, Munich Germany A Million Faces of Ice March—April2013
  • 2013: Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles, California, USA B&W Ice exhibit to benefit the NRDC, October 2013
  • 2015: Leica Gallery, Frankfurt Germany Arctica: The Vanishing North, October 15—November 15, 2015
  • 2015: Yann Arthus Bertrand Gallery, Paris Arctica: The Vanishing North December 2015
  • 2016: Earth Day Dallas 2016—Arctica: The Vanishing North April 18–24, 2016

Group Photo Exhibitions[edit]

  • 2004: Scope Art LA, Group Show Los Angeles, Standard Hotel May 2004
  • 2006: International Photography Awards New York, Best in Show 2006
  • 2007: Nobel Peace Center, Oslo, Norway Melting Ice--Hot Topic World Environment Day 2007, Presented by The Natural World Museum June 5, 2007
  • 2007: International Photography Awards New York, Best in Show 2007
  • 2008: United Nation, NYC, On Thin Ice Norwegian Ice Bridge, December 2007-February 2008
  • 2008: Salle d'Exposition at Quai Antoine 1er, Monaco -- Melting Ice: Hot Topic Presented by The Natural World Museum, February 20- March 14, 2008
  • 2008: BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium Melting Ice: Hot Topic October 6, 2007 - January 6, 2008
  • 2008: Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago Envisioning Change April 18-Sept 1, 2008
  • 2008: Prix Pictet Exhibition Palais de Tokyo, Paris Antarctica : The Global Warning Oct—Nov 2008
  • 2009: Peabody Essex Museum, Salem Massachusetts Polar Attractions June 28, 2008—June 7, 2009
  • 2009: Bernheimer Gallery, Munich Germany Landscapes June 18-July 30, 2009
  • 2010: Salon d’Automne, Solyanka State Gallery, Moscow Russia November 25—December 3, 2010
  • 2012 Flo Peters Gallery, Hamburg, Germany «Photos!» November 30, 2011—January 31, 2012
  • 2013: Bernheimer Gallery, Munich Germany Platinum September 20 – October 31, 2013
  • 2013: Paris Photo 2013 at the Grand Palais, Paris France with Bernheimer Gallery, 14–17 November 2013
  • 2014: Art South Hampton, in South Hampton, New York with Bernheimer Gallery 24–28 July 2014
  • 2015:Paris Photo 2015 at the Grand Palais, Paris France with Bernheimer Gallery, 11–15 November 2015
  • 2016 The Fence—a large scale outdoor exhibit in Brooklyn, Atlanta, Boston, Santa Fe and Houston Summer 2016
  • 2016 C40 Mayors Summit in Mexico City November 30, 2016 to -Jan15, 2017
  • 2016 Triennial Museum in Milan COP21 Exhibition — December 7–14, 2016

See also[edit]


  • Antarctica: The Global Warning 2007 Palace Press International (French translation Intervista; Spanish Lunwerg and German Rolf Heyne; Australia The Five Mile Press)
  • Antarctica: A Call To Action 2008 Palace Press International
  • Water 2008 – Prix Pictet Editions TeNeues
  • The Call Of The Poles 2009 (Introduction) Le Cercle Polaire Publishing
  • Commitment: When The World Must Come Together As One 2009 (Essay) Edition Electa
  • Arctica: The Vanishing North 2015 TeNeues Publishing