Sebastian Copeland is a photographer and environmental activist. Copeland grew up in France and Britain, and graduated from UCLA in 1987 with a major in film. Throughout the 1990’s, Copeland directed commercials – everything from soft drinks to sportswear – as well as music videos. He is also known for his celebrity portraiture; he’s taken pictures of Sandra Bullock, Kate Bosworth, and Orlando Bloom (who is also his cousin), among others. In recent years, Copeland has focused on environmental activism. He serves on the Board of Directors of Global Green USA and recently published Antarctica: The Global Warning
Question: What role does sex play in your photography?
Copeland: Well certainly other than the obvious, which is sex always gets people’s attention, it connects them with their own sexuality and it makes them wonder. I think it’s also . . . There’s an aspect . . . To be calling my work sexual, perhaps if you feel that it is then that’s terrific, and I’m pleased to find that it is. I’d rather think of it as perhaps seductive. And the aspect of seduction – and particularly as I suspect you might be referring more to the female subjects than to the male subjects, but perhaps not . . . But the aspect of seduction has to do with finding an area of breaking the wall of, you know, the separation between the camera and the subject; and trying to find a place of expression that may be touching on vulnerability, which is a subject that I’m always intent in capturing when I shoot the celebrities in portraiture. And the seduction is a game that talent plays with the camera, and ultimately with the viewing audience, which gets the attention. And it connects with our own . . . you know the ____________ of our own emotions perhaps, and it engages people. So you know the big, broad strokes . . . Anger engages people, but it’s not exactly appealing in camera. Seduction is a mode that is perfectly suited for the relationship between talent and camera. Recorded on: 12/3/07