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Sebastian Copeland Interview


Serenity
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One of my google alerts brought this article to my attention.

First a little background on the webstie (which turned out to be pretty cool in it's own right, aside from the interview):

Per the sprig.com website's help page:

What is Sprig?

Answer Sprig is for stylish, sophisticated, smart people. Sprig is about food, fashion, beauty, home, and lifestyle. Sprig is about being just a little more green. Sprig is innovative and fresh information on high-quality products and services that are as easy on the planet as they are on the senses. Sprig is not about reinventing the way you live your life, just about convenient information, ideas and choices to be a little more green today.

Now, on with the interview:

(I do believe this picture was taken by none other than Mr. Orlando Bloom himself, according to the inside flap at the back Sebastian's book. :wub: I made it a clicky.)

profile_sebastiancopelandsm.jpg

Sebastian Copeland

Eco-Photographer

He may be Orlando Bloom's cousin and a celebrity chronicler of the likes of Sandra Bullock and Kate Bosworth, but this France-based photographer has an environmental streak that gets mined—to extremely striking effect—in his just-released photography book Antarctica: The Global Warning. Here, he talks shop with Sprig.com's Photo Editor, Youngna Park.

As a photographer, you travel all over the world, taking portraits of celebrities, including Kate Bosworth, Sandra Bullock, and your cousin Orlando Bloom. How did you make the leap from the celebrity world to Antarctica?

The reality is that this has not been a leap—it's a continuation of my work. I'm a board member of Global Green USA and have been an advocate on behalf of the environment for about a decade. The work that I do as a celebrity photographer is my profession and how I earn my living. The two fused together when I went to the Arctic, and then Antarctica, and saw the beauty of the environment. I am compelled to record beauty and in doing so, I'll shoot nature and nudes and landscapes as well as celebrities. In traveling to Antarctica to create an advocacy image with Global Green, I was recording its beauty.

Antarctica yields a landscape that is so majestic and conjures up images of adventure that is unlike anywhere else in the world. Sometimes you lay foot on ground that has never seen a human footprint; it has been a tremendous experience for me.

How can photography further your personal commitment to providing universal access to clean water and ridding the world of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, as you say on your website?

Photography—like art in general—is a universal language. In Antarctica, photographing was a way for me to invite other people to share and visit and raise their awareness about the impact of their actions.

In your book you use the phrase, 'Welcome to the Age of the Environment.' What do you mean by this statement?

I think that humanity has been very immature in its relationship to the natural world. When I speak of 'Welcome to the Age of the Environment,' it is because I believe we are being forced into a time of awareness—that we cannot carry on unchecked with the developments in technology that we have been making. As we grow, we consume, but we also destroy the source that is feeding us. We are now forced to reflect on the nature of that growth. For 99% of our existence as a species we have been sustainable, but through the age of industry we are now producing 36 times more waste. This makes no sense, especially since we are creative, intellectual people who are very capable of being resourceful. We can create biodegradable packaging, recyclable materials, and the technology to utilize our natural resources carefully, yet because our economies have tied profit to development we create much more than we need. I am optimistic and think society has the intellectual resourcefulness to solve this problem, but I am concerned about the time line.

You collaborated with John Quigley from Spectral Q to create an aerial photo of a giant orange S.O.S. sign made of human bodies on top of a glacier in Antarctica, which also appears in your book. What was the goal in creating this image?

John is an aerial artist—he takes people and arranges them on the ground to create a certain message. In 2005, he created a message of Arctic warning using Inuits, whose indigenous culture is being threatened after over 1,000 years of existence. I decided to repeat this project in Antarctica with the understanding that the nature of the work would be different because there is no indigenous population there. The logistic of getting people into one environment was difficult. We ended up settling on using crew members. Originally, we kicked around with a lot of different ideas, but I was always intent on including S.O.S., the universal sign of distress. Ultimately we only had thirty or so people and John was trying to coordinate while I was up in the air in the cold and rain hanging on a pole to take the photo.

Where do the proceeds from your book go?

The proceeds of the book are going to Global Green in the US, and as it is released internationally, proceeds will be going to Green Cross International, which exists in thirty-one different countries.

You fly a lot for your work. Do you carbon offset?

Yes, I do. I offset with Global Cool, friends of mine out of London.

What are some tips you can give to anyone who wants to pursue environmental photography?

Environmental photography is landscape photography with an environmental purpose. The main thing you would need to do is find a certain communion with your environment. It's a very meditative experience. By observing the landscape and how it is changing, you really become focused on capturing the beauty and appreciating its impact. Immerse yourself in nature and the inspiration will come.

Are there ways of being green in photography? Are there environmentally friendly ways to dispose of photographic byproducts?

That's an interesting question. I think technology is leading us in that direction, with the digital revolution and the leaps and bounds that have been made. We are progressing; soon the chemicals will be a thing of the past. While I was in Antarctica, using digital equipment was more convenient without sacrificing quality.

What's next for you, photographically speaking?

I'm planning an expedition to the Arctic next summer that will be the basis of my next book. It's most distressing because we are seeing an accelerated melting of the polar caps and with it comes a variety of concerns, namely the opening of the Northwest Passage which will be facilitating industrial shipping routes that disrupt the natural eco-system. The Arctic doesn't have a treaty for all these growing considerations, like Antarctica. What's going on in the Arctic is compelling me to travel there.

What's your eco-sin?

Communications—cell phone, blackberry, email, television—it's an unfortunate byproduct, the advent of this type of technology.

When I grow up, I wanna be just like him. :wink2:

~Serenity

Edited by Serenity
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Thank you so much for bringing this here, Serenity hon. :snoopy:

It's a fantastic interview and gives insight in his work.

I love this quote:

I am compelled to record beauty.

Fantastic man. :notworthy:

And the photo is kinda cute, too. :blush:

:snowman5: ~Elisabeth~

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I'll shoot nature and nudes and landscapes as well as celebrities.
I don't know why, but I really like this line! And there's a new book coming up sometime next year!

Great interview, thanks for bringing it over Serenity.

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Glad you all liked it. I thought it was a good one and it's nice to see Sebastian get some more press for the book. I forgot to put the link to the actual interview in the first post. So here it is:

Sebastian Copeland: Eco-Photographer.

And since a few of you pointed out your favourite or the most stand-out part of the interview, I thought I'd take this opportunity to highlight mine (bolding mine):

For 99% of our existence as a species we have been sustainable, but through the age of industry we are now producing 36 times more waste. This makes no sense, especially since we are creative, intellectual people who are very capable of being resourceful. . . I am optimistic and think society has the intellectual resourcefulness to solve this problem, but I am concerned about the time line.

I think Orlando hit the nail on the head when he said this book is a book of hope. It truly is, as is the message Sebastian continues to spread in his interviews. :shiny:

:wink2: Serenity

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...especially since we are creative, intellectual people who are very capable of being resourceful. We can create biodegradable packaging, recyclable materials, and the technology to utilize our natural resources carefully, yet because our economies have tied profit to development we create much more than we need. I am optimistic and think society has the intellectual resourcefulness to solve this problem, but I am concerned about the time line.

This is an excellent point. Great interview. Thanks, Serenity, for posting it.

:treegreen:

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I like the way Sebastian has to put big thoughs into simple words, that's not easy. Just one little change in our behavior will change our world. Simply carrying our groseries without a plastic bag or eating more vegetables and fruits and less 'fast food' we can make this planet even better.

He's a smart guy and I'm sure our children will thank him some day. Gee.you can see how serious this is to me. Sebastian knows how to touch that environmental fibre in my environmental life. :teehee:

Stardust.

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