Perth Photographer Jarrad Seng is reaching for the stars. With his love for music, travel and the arts he has gained international recognition in recent years for his work with high profile artists such as Passenger, Matchbox 20 and Ed Sheeran.
Jarrad’s work is admired by fans worldwide through his social media pages. A self-admitted fan of reaching higher ground from rooftops, cliffs and waterfalls he captures some breathtaking views and landscapes. We took some time to find out a little more about his influences, views and diverse range of work he creates.
You have had a crazy journey so far, what was the first step you took? How did it all start?
You know I’ve thought about this a lot and I think if you trace it all back, the origins of my interest in photography probably originated around the time I started playing my mates Pokemon Snap game on N64. Kinda joking. But not really.
What was your previous job before photography?
In 2012 I worked for a non-profit arts organisation Propel Youth Arts developing programs to support young emerging artists. Before that I was a copywriter for Messages on Hold -(you know when you ring up a business, get put on hold and have to sit through their annoying reel of promo messages…. yep, I wrote those). I was also writing for a few music magazines.
Describe yourself in three words?
Hipster wildling dickhead
Favourite project you have worked on?
Shooting the material for my Iceland aerial exhibition was pretty wild… flying 1000 feet over volcanic rivers and glaciers is something I’ll never forget! Especially because I threw up halfway and had to sit in shame for half the ride.
What has been your funniest/weirdest photoshoot?
There have been some pretty weird moments along the way. An early one I remember was on my first tour with Passenger. We’d come up with this idea of tying a string between us (nickname the gimp leash), and me circling around him taking photos for a stop motion sequence. We did this in a few scenic spots around the country, but it was only until we got out the gimp string in a town square and people starting giving us looks where we really thought about what we were doing. I remember Mike looking at me and saying, “We’re freaks, aren’t we.”
What do you love photographing most of all?
It changes. It used to be live music, but now I think it’s more environmental portraiture that gets me excited. I’ve also developed an affinity for rooftops, cliffs and climbing tall things in general, which I’m sure isn’t great for the insurance premiums but it does get the heart racing.
Where do you find your motivation?
Lots of places. I’m constantly dreaming up weird ideas in my strange little mind. Most of them are shit, but every now and then something really sticks. Or I might see some epic landscape photo on Instagram and just *need* to visit that place. Or another artist might reach out and want to collaborate which always keeps things fresh.
What is your most inspiring place in the world?
It’s got to be Iceland. And if I had to choose one specific spot it would be sitting on the edge of Goðafoss waterfall. I could spend days sitting there.
Who is your favourite Artist?
Trent from Punchy.
Nikon or Canon?
I shoot Canon but have no particular allegiance to the brand. I don’t think any of it makes any real difference, it just happened to be the brand I chose at the start and stuck with it! To be honest, one of my pet peeves are photographers who go on and on about gear on Facebook… I really couldn’t care less about that stuff. Less talking, more shooting.
Film or Digital?
I’ve got a few Polaroid cameras lying around but apart from that I really don’t know much about the film side of things. When it all slows down a bit I’d love to really immerse myself in the analog world… but it’s all digital for now.
How did the Fake Aoki project come about?
Well I don’t actually look that much like Steve but people already yelled out to me all across the world so I thought it would be funny to actually pretend to be him for once. I had to fork out three hundred dollars in Stereosonic tickets for the gag so I’m glad it actually worked.
What is your favourite lens to shoot with and why?
I just starting playing around with Lomography’s new Petzval 85 lens which is a lot of fun. I just get bored very easily – sometimes I’ll shoot a gig totally on one prime lens just to keep things interesting and force myself to do something different.
What inspired you to travel to Tanzania?
The original plan was to work with a school over there as part of an Arts Practicum unit for university. It kind of ended up falling through, which was stressful at the time, but looking back now it was probably the best thing that could have happened as I was forced to make fresh plans which included photographing the Maasai tribes in the desert.
The popularity of smartphones and Instagram has everyone snapping away. What are your thoughts on mobile photography?
I’m impressed by people who can do it well – I follow a few shooters on Instagram who use only smartphones. I’ve also used mobile footage in music videos as well. ‘Best camera is the one you’ve got on you’ and all that. Then again it also opens the floodgates to a barrage of mundane content streaming through social media to my eyeballs. So there’s the good and the bad.
What are your thoughts on the Perth art scene these days?
I think it’s great! Most of my friends are artists, and I love watching them grow and create and make good shit. I’m not entirely sure if it’s a ‘Perth’ thing but I definitely feel like we’re a closer community than other cities I’ve worked in. I think the isolation has a lot to do with it. We’re all in it together. And I think we’re really starting to see the commercial / business side of things starting to connect meaningfully with artists. So it’s all looking good.
Anything exciting in store for the rest of 2015?
Well right now I’m on tour with Passenger and we’re about to hit up Eastern Europe, which I’m sure, will be very amazing. Plenty of other fun things lined up as well including trips to Shanghai, Norway, Iceland, New Zealand and France. The downside is that I don’t get a lot of time to work on my own stuff these days, which is pretty important to me. So I’m going to have to stop faffing about sometime soon and get stuck into it.
What can’t this Perth photographer do? We are huge fans of Jarrad Seng, a photographer who personally inspires us with his creativity. We look forward to seeing more of Jarrads work especially when his busy schedule calms down and he can pop out some personal projects! To keep up to date with Jarrad Seng follow him via these buttons.