Sebastian Copeland is a polar explorer, award winning photographer, author, public speaker and environmental activist. Sebastian was named one of the world’s 50 Most Adventurous Men by Men’s Journal in 2015. His work has been featured in National Geographic, Vanity Fair, Outside, Publisher’s Weekly, American Photo, Elle, People, USA Today, Paris Match as well on NBC, CBS, NPR and CNN’s Larry King Live.
Sebastian has been noted as a photographer “who has produced works that are of outstanding artistic merit and communicates messages of urgent global significance.” Sebastian uses photography as a medium for activism. “Helping people fall in love with their world,” he says, ”is a catalyst to wanting to save it”. Sebastian won the prestigious International Photography Awards’ 2007 Professional Photographer of the Year for his first book Antarctica: A Global Warning. In 2008, Sebastian released a second book titled Antarctica: A Call To Action. His latest book Arctica: The Vanishing North was released in 2015. It won the ITB Book Award. His fine quality prints have appeared at the United Nations (Solo Show, 2007), the Council on Foreign Relations, Peabody Essex Museum and the Field Museum among others. These works can also be found in private collections in both the United States and Europe and several are now part of the permanent archive of The Natural World Museum in San Francisco.
A Summa Cum Laude graduate of UCLA Film School (’87) and the son of highly successful family of artists (his father is classical conductor Jean-Claude Casadesus), Sebastian—a British/French national relocated to NY in 1980—began his career directing music videos and commercials, and photographing fashion, advertising, album covers and celebrities. His still work has appeared in hundreds of publications worldwide. Sebastian has shot movie posters for Goal!, The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift, and Herbie—Fully Loaded, and the international press for such films as Pirates of the Caribbean’s, Troy and Seabiscuit.
A personal commitment to fight for the protection of the environment and a relentless pursuit of a sustainable future led to a move away from commercial work, with a focus on visual arts as a tool for social change. Since 1999, Sebastian has worked closely with Global Green USA (the US arm of President Gorbachev’s Green Cross International), where he serves on the Board of Directors.
With roots in commercial photography, Sebastian uses photography as a fine art medium for activism. A life-long climber and mountaineer, Sebastian has specialized his adventure skills to polar exploration. He has led various expeditions to the Polar regions. Sebastian spearheaded a media effort in the Arctic in 2005 in defense of the Inuit. He spent two seasons (2006 and 2007) aboard a scientific research icebreaker in the Antarctic Peninsula. In 2008 with partner Luc Hardy, Sebastian led a team of nine children from international nationalities to the northernmost Canadian Arctic as the Young Ambassadors of the Arctic. In March 2009, Sebastian led a mission to what is widely considered the most difficult expedition in the world: the geographical North Pole. He and partner Keith Heger walked seven hundred kilometers to commemorate the centennial of Admiral Peary’s reach in 1909. Sebastian chronicled the mission in his first documentary Into The Cold: A Journey Of The Soul. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and has won multiple international awards.
In 2010, Sebastian and partner Eric McNair-Landry spent 43 days crossing the Greenland ice sheet using skis and kites and without outside support. During the 2300 kilometers crossing, they set a new world record for longest distance traveled on kites and skis over one twenty hour period by covering 595 kilometers. The trip was chronicled in Sebastian’s second documentary film, Across The Ice (2015) produced for Red Bull Media House.
On the centennial 2011-2012 season of the South Pole, again with partner Eric McNair-Landry, Sebastian led the first East/West transcontinental crossing of Antarctica by skis and kites via two of its poles, setting three world records over the 4100 kilometers/82 days expedition.
In 2016, Sebastian will attempt an unsupported crossing of the Simpson Desert, Australia’s driest area with partner Mark George, in training for his second mission to the North Pole from Canada, in 2017, which could be the last of its kind due to the rapidly melting ice.
As an international speaker on climate crisis, Sebastian has been featured on television and radio (Larry King Live, CBS, NPR,Air America) and has addressed audiences at the United Nations, at the COP21 in Paris, the World Affairs Council, the General Assembly on Climate in New Orleans, the George Eastman House, Hewlett Packard, Google Headquarters, VF Corp and to Apple’s Senior Design Team amongst others. He has spoken at Universities and museum across the US, and international climate summits on the systemic geopolitical consequences of climate change.
In 2011, Sebastian founded the SEDNA foundation whose mission is to report from the front lines of climate change. Sebastian is regular a contributor to Men’s Journal and The Huffington Post, and Al Gore’s 24 hours of Climate Reality.
In 2008, Sebastian was named German GQ’s Man of the Year for environmental leadership. In 2009, he received the Founder’s Award from Global Green USA, and in 2010 the Gala Award for his environmental stewardship. He was commended twice by the City of Los Angeles, in 2005 and 2009, and received the Green Good Design Award from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design in 2014.
He is brand ambassador for Herbalife, Napapjri and REVO sunglasses. Past and current sponsors include Hewlett Packard, IWC, Lexar, MSR, Rossignol, Nemo, Ozone Kites and Hilleberg tents among others.
Sebastian has two daughters with his wife, Carolin. He is a member of the Explorer’s Club and currently lives in Los Angeles.