Sebastian Copeland: A Vanishing World

Wed 23 May 2018Fri 6 Jul 2018

For this year’s spring exhibition Bernheimer Fine Art Photography will be showing

Sebastian Copeland: "A Vanishing World" at the gallery in Haldenstrasse 11, Lucerne.

On display will be a collection of photographs by Sebastian Copeland. This is the most comprehensive collection of Sebastian Copeland’s photographic work on ice, comprising ten year’s worth of expeditions across the most distant and forbidding regions on earth. It offers a unique glimpse into this other world, right here on Earth.

Most of the exhibited photographs by the award-winning photographer originated from his last expedition across the polar regions. Captured high on arctica and antarctica, these photos depict the open vastness of a world void of life whose only features are ones left by the wind on the ice, and the clouds in the sky. The features of the snowy and icy scenery—called “sastrugi”— are sculpted by the 160 km/h strong wind into rich and unique patterns. The abstract organic shapes, reminiscent of paintings or graphic art, all but blur the gap between natural and human art. The two are in fact profoundly symbiotic: these images remind us of a human spirit in the deepest and most desolate areas of the world, places which had, until Copeland’s, never seen a human footprint.

The vast, untouched white and blue surfaces convey clarity, peace and silence. These are pictures of a remote world, forever changing, far from human eyes.

Presently the desolate polar regions, both North and South are threatened by global warming. The ice melts faster in these regions than anywhere else in the world and climate change with all its disastrous consequences is especially evident. Massive icebergs, the size of city blocks, collapse down into the sea, and glaciers pour inexorably into the ocean. In short: the polar regions are at threat.

Sebastian Copeland is a world-re-known environmental activists, with focus on climate change specific to the polar regions. He is a board member of “Global Green USA”, the US affiliate of Michael Gorbatschov’s Green Cross International. Besides a sustainable lifestyle, personal engagement as well as responsibility is a huge priority. In the context of climate change discussions Sebastian Copeland recognises a fundamental communication problem; the use of language can often constitutes the greatest obstacle to an emotional connection. Therefore for Sebastian Copeland it is a logical step to support his activities as an environmentalist with his photographic works. The Polar Regions are foreign to most people. Geographically separate, they rather resemble a distant planet. Sebastian Copeland uses his photographs as a method to communicate his impressions and experiences gained in the Polar regions. With the help of his artistic means Copeland connects the viewer with the remote ice world, awakening awareness as well as an emotional response. He helps people to fall in love with this world, because to save something one loves is considerably easier. Sebastian Copelands photographs have an immediate effect on us.