THROWING himself in the deep end is what Mandurah-raised, Perth photographer Jarrad Seng does best.
After spending a year in law school at UWA before switching to communications and marketing, Seng dropped everything to concentrate on his true passion – photography.
“I love taking risks and putting myself in absurd and terrifying situations,” Seng said.
“I get bored very easily and I don’t like doing the same thing twice or keeping it safe. It becomes more about the travel and adventure equally, or even more so than the photography.
“I just want to put myself in the craziest situations like I have in Iceland or Kenya; I just love that excitement of the unknown.”
Therefore, it is little surprise Seng applied for this year’s Australian Survivor, a television series he has watched from the start.
“With my photography, I’m always in random situations and just have to use my wits,” he said.
“I’ve needed the ability to gain people’s trust really quickly. And I’ve had a lot of different roles, touring with musicians (Seng is the official photographer for Passenger) or other very famous people where I have to be a bit of a fly on the wall and unobtrusive as possible.
“You have to be quiet and go into your shell but then there’s other times where I run workshops in Iceland and have to be that leader. All those life experiences help to know what role I have to play, what Jarrad I have to be.”
Seng said his strategy was to be a quiet influence without being outed as a power player; rather, he saw himself as a power broker, exerting influence without drawing attention to himself.
He said it was strange but also a relief to not have a camera in hand during his time in Samoa.
“As much as I love it, there’s a lot of pressure to create imagery every day out there and watching all the cameramen having to do that job while I sat around was pretty amazing,” he said.
“It’s a different feeling and cool to get a different perspective.”
Seng, who is still based in Perth but will continue to travel for work, said it took time to adjust back to everyday life post-Survivor.
“You’re so used to this mindset of questioning everyone’s motives and everything you say and do is so deliberate,” he said.
“I came back and people would ask me a normal question like “Where are you having dinner tonight?” and I found myself thinking really carefully about how I would answer.
“You are still careful with what you say until you realise in the real world people aren’t trying to betray you every second of the day. It took a while to let my guard down.”