Each week this month we’ve been speaking with and picking the brains of some of the amazing local talent competing in our 2012 Pedestrian Photography Awards presented by Lipton Ice Tea + Contiki. Today we catch up with Perth native Jarrad Seng, a 24 year old music photographer, procrastinator and wanderer whose highly achievable life goal is to explore Planet Earth with a camera in his hand.
When and why did you first fall in love with photography? I’d always had an interest in photography, but it was only really when I traveled to Nepal in 2009 that I really fell in love with the idea of capturing the beauty of the world on film. We taught English to children in run down schools, climbed mountains in the dark, paraglided amongst hawks…There is so much out there to experience, so many stories to be told. When I came home from my journey the first thing I did was buy my first SLR camera.
Talk us through the most magical photo you’ve ever taken. Here is an image I took at the opening of the Perth International Arts Festival this year. Angels roamed the skies, and for one hour it snowed feathers down on Perth. It was beautiful, enchanting, amazing. I love how art can push the boundaries of what is real and what is not, how it can bring entire communities together as one. It was truly a magical experience and I was lucky to be able to capture this memory of it.
Why do you shoot? I think the photo above really sums up why I shoot. Fleeting moments surround us every day, waiting to be captured and shared with the world.
What equipment do you use? I use a Canon 5D with a 50mm lens on the front 90% of the time. I own a range of lenses which I need for certain assignments, but I love the simplicity of the 50mm. It’s often the only gear I will take with me when I’m travelling.
Describe the first photo you took. I can’t remember the first photo I took, no doubt it would be something embarrassing like a picture with the lens cap still on. Come to think of it, I still do that. Often.
Describe the last photo you took. The last photo I took was in Broome. I was up there for a wedding, but I had come alone and had some time to kill on the last day, and thought I’d treat myself to a sunset nap on Cable Beach. I really like this picture. It’s pretty simple, but it’s an interesting perspective and I like the idea of sharing the world through my eyes.
What photographers do you admire? One of my favourite photographers is another Perth local and friend of mine, fashion photographer Caitlin Worthington. She has such unique creative vision, and a magical mastery of colour. Apart from Caitlin, I really admire photographers that are taking risks with their work and trying out things that have never been before, instead of sticking with the crowd and playing it safe. Being unique and having a distinct style I think is one of the most important things for an emerging photographer.
What’s the most useful photography advice someone has ever given you? I have a little print on my desk with the quote, “Bad decisions make great stories.” This is probably not the safest motto to live life by, but whenever I’m at a crossroads and can’t decide whether taking a risk is a good idea or not – like whether I should jump that fence to get the shot, or whether climbing the active volcano is such a good idea – I think of the quote. I figure, if I’m making the right decision – awesome, if it’s the wrong one – at least I’ll get a funny story out of it.
What is the visual definition of summer? Sunlit hair, the spray of saltwater, the stroke of a guitar string and the roar of a crowd, or a drink in hand against the late afternoon sun. These things mean Summer to me.
The 2012 Photo of the Year and respective category winners will be announced in December. The Lipton Ice Tea Virgin Cocktails Summer Exhibition Tour kicks off soon after in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. With just a few days to go, you better get submitting!