Imagine living out of a suitcase (literally) for months on end, photographing bands and amazing sights while being paid to do so? This is the life of music photographer Jarrad Seng.
Currently in Australia, we had a chat to Jarrad about his experience touring with Passenger, his photography bucket list, and; of course, music!
What made you want to become a photographer?
It’s always been about the music. It started with playing in local bands during college, which turned into music journalism and interviewing artists and reviewing shows, and eventually I picked up a camera and started shooting bands on stage.
What do you love most about photographing musicians?
I like the idea of capturing those moments where people are at their peak, at the height of their passion, leaving it all out on the stage. I love shooting those unguarded, candid moments as well – but there’s something special about capturing the energy of someone who is in exactly where they want to be.
What was your favourite artist/music event you’ve photographed?
Passenger, supporting Ed Sheeran at the O2 Arena in Dublin, 2013. I remember that one well. Mike was nervous, it was his biggest show yet and he wasn’t sure how the 12,000 strong crowd would react to his set – after all he was only the support act. Two years earlier I’d been on his Australian regional tour where at one show there wouldn’t have been more than a dozen in attendance. So this was huge. He went out there on stage and smashed it. I remember photographing him from the back of the stage, looking out at the crowd, hands waving in the air. It was a magical moment. And it was my job to capture it. I felt such a rush through his whole set, giddy with the simple joy of my friend achieving his dreams.
What band/musician would you love to photograph?
It would be pretty fascinating to capture a behind the curtain glimpse into the world of a mega pop star like Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, etc.
Do you have a photography bucket list?
Well, pretty much every second stunning place that pops up on my Instagram feed gets added to the bucket list. But I guess the next obvious one is the Northern Lights. Even just witnessing the phenomenon would be magical, and I plan to make that one happen his year.
How do you find the process of art photography, (your own exhibitions,) compared to live gig work? Are they both reflective of yourself as a photographer?
My own personal work is pretty diverse in genre and style, so it’s always a different process. But yes, it’s very different from shooting live music as there’s an entire process of concept planning, development and execution rather than shooting a show and having no control over anything. There’s not really too much you can do with live music alone, which is why I always like to create a set of images that touches on the moments before and after a show, away from the microphone.
What areas of photography would you like to explore more in 2015?
I’m exploring a few different styles in my personal work, a bit more conceptual as well as a loose, reckless street photography project. And I’m always working on my travel photography and trying to explore more of this wonderful world.
Aside from the gigs you have to shoot, what is your own personal music taste?
Honestly, I don’t get a lot of time to look for new music so most of what I listen to these days are either my friends’ bands or artists that I’m working with. A few current favourites that come to mind are Airling, Japanese Wallpaper, James Vincent McMorrow. Oh, and I love Passenger’s music. I’m actually a huge fan. Even if I didn’t work with him, his records would be on repeat. Don’t tell him that.
Where would you photograph yourself to best sum up your personality?
In a suitcase
What are your plans for photography in 2015?
Well so far in 2015 I’ve toured three countries with Passenger, shot a wedding in Kenya, photographed ancient caves in Tasmania, created a short film for Tourism Queensland and explored the Kimberley region on a cruise ship… 🙂 so I’m taking a little break in Perth for a couple months to work on some personal projects. Things will probably be quiet for a little while, but I’ve got a couple exhibitions and collaborations in store for later on in the year.
To see more of Jarrad’s work, visit his website here.