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: Who are you?
Copeland: My name is Sebastian Copeland. I’m a photographer, lecturer, and an environmental advocate.
Question: Why did growing up in Britain and France teach you to “find inspiration in dysfunction?”
Copeland: Well I mean I was jokingly referring to the age-old conflict between England and France. And my parents decided to challenge that tradition and were not very successful at it. So I was . . . My mother is British, and my father is French. They separated fairly early, but luckily they have remained friends. It was dysfunctional at first. It’s challenging at times for a child, I think, to be bicultural. But it paid off in spades later on in life, so it has given me some tools to deal with a variety and discrepancies between cultures. And as it is now I consider myself to be tri-cultural, because I’ve lived in America for . . . in excess of 25 years I think. Yeah 25 years. So just . . . I think it’s great to be able to . . . First of all I’m bilingual and that helps; and then tri-cultural in the sense that I can navigate between these different countries and feel either not completely at home, but certainly not completely foreign either. My father is a classical conductor, and there is a long family lineage in that discipline. My great uncle was a very famous pianist who was ____________ favorite pianist. And so I was brought up in environmental classical music, which translated later on in jazz; and then of course in my rebellious stage, that translated not surprisingly, I suppose, in punk rock. So I had a sort of fairly broad range of musical exposure. And to this day I consider music to come in two genres, and that is good and bad.