Photographers are often called upon to shoot in difficult and even treacherous conditions, but there’s a small club of hardy and necessarily obstinate individuals who have managed to endure the extreme zones of Earth’s polar regions in order to bring back otherworldly images. In the lineage that includes Herbert Ponting and Frank Hurley (whose shots of the Shackleton expedition offered us a visceral notion of what that ordeal must have been), Sebastian Copeland ventures into the blinding white expanses of both poles, often for weeks at a time, to seek out the wild sculpted beauty of places no human has seen before.
In his photographs Copeland seductively captures what he feels is the most eloquent argument for protecting the planet’s endangered natural realms. He is explorer, scientist, artist, activist and spiritual seeker. To do his work, he suffers frostbite, creature-killing temperatures, and soul-testing isolation. Specializing in the systemic changes that are taking place in the polar regions, the all too visible result of climage change, he works with the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado to provide telltale images that no one else has access to. At the same time, Copeland bears witness to the sublime face of Earth’s last unsullied terrestrial frontier.