1. Jarrad! thanks for taking the time to talk to us, tell us a bit about yourself, and what you do?
I'm a twenty seven year old photographer based in Perth. That sounds really old, now. I used to be able to say, "twenty-one year old photographer" back in the day and feel pretty good about all the cool things I was doing whilst in the prime of my youth. A few days ago I got an email about my ten year high school reunion. That's depressing! Anyway, I take photos, travel and every now and then I'll direct a short film or music video.
2. When did you decide you wanted to pursue photography/ film making and how did you go about it?
I was more into music journalism during my college years. I was enjoying reviewing shows and interviewing some of my favourite artists. But there came a point, I remember it well, when I was sitting up the back of the Hyde Park Hotel with a little note pad and feeling like it was all starting to look the same. And then I'd look over and see one of my mates, a music photographer, right up next to the stage, loving life. So one day I took a chance and bluffed my way into a music festival as a 'photographer'. I had to borrow my friend's camera and google 'How to take concert photos' the night before. I felt like a pretty big fraud amongst the hardcore shooters in the pit, but it was such a rush. Jason Mraz, John Butler, Paul Kelly - all right in front of me, mere metres away. And the pictures turned out alright as well. I was hooked.
3. What do you like most about your job?
There're lots of things I like about my 'job'. Firstly, it doesn't really feel like a job most of the time. Well, I guess it does when I'm retouching nose hairs on a corporate head shot. But most of the time I get to hang out with my mates and work together to create something unique and epic. Or travel the world and explore new places, or stand back and watch tens of thousands of people move together as one at a rock show, or spend time working with some of my teenage idols. I guess it's the people I get to meet, that's the main thing. Sometimes it gets pretty weird. Like, last year I met Skrillex whilst I was dressed as his friend Steve Aoki. With Steve Aoki dressed like me, taking photos of us. That was kind of weird. But cool - I mean, this never would have happened without photography. But yeah, weird.
4. You have experienced and achieved a lot, what are some of your favourite career highlights?
There're many but one that definitely sticks out was photographing my mate Mike (Passenger) during his set supporting Ed Sheeran in Ireland. There were around twelve thousand people there and we were all unsure how it would go. He was, after all, the support act. And about to play to his biggest crowd ever. Now I'd seen him play to almost empty pubs not so long before that, so this was a big deal. But he went on stage and killed it. I felt like a proud parent standing back stage, capturing this milestone achievement through the lens. I remember I couldn't stop smiling.
5. Of course we have to ask about your major troll at Stereosonic! How and where did you get the idea from to impersonate Steve Aoki ? (you totally had us fooled, and friends of ours even appeared in a few snaps haha)
People have been yelling out Steve Aoki to me for years. I don't even look like him! The long Asian hair is about it. He's ten years older than me and I can't even grow a beard. Anyway, I saw that he was playing at Stereosonic and had an idea... what if I actually tried to look like him. It turned out to be a costly and time consuming joke - having to buy multiple tickets to Stereosonic for myself and my camera man Jason, find clothes, glue on a beard, etc. But it worked. Way better than I could have ever imagined! Back in high school and college I used to play jokes and make stupid videos like this all the time, so it was actually really fun doing it again and feeling like it had all come full circle.
6. Almost every news site picked up your stunt online overnight, were you surprised by how quickly it went viral? What was it like hanging out with the REAL Steve Aoki?
I knew that anyone that knew me, or knew Steve Aoki, would find it funny. It was a classic idea. But what I didn't anticipate was that it would still be funny to people who had no idea who either of us was. So yeah, it was definitely a surprise how quickly it spread.
It was cool to hang out with the real Steve. He's a surprisingly chill guy for the amount of crazy sh*! he has going on in his life. We had a lot of fun working on part two of the prank in Melbourne.
7. Any advice for someone who wants to get into photography/ film making?
Work hard and be nice to people. Also if you're asking someone (me) for help or advice, don't spell their name wrong. Seriously. If you've sent me an email in the past and never received a reply, maybe check how you spelled my name. How hard is it?! You've obviously had to type in my email address correctly in the first place which IS MY NAME! C'mon!!! I've always wanted to write a reply like "Well, my first piece of advice is to spell my name right." But I always chicken out because I don't want to be that guy. So instead I'm doing it through your blog, how's that for passive aggressive! Um, yeah and collaborate with other artists. And support each other - you don't make it through this industry alone!
8. Any exciting projects coming up?
I'm back in Perth for a couple months working on three or four series of works. Some solo and other collaborations. They are as different as you can possibly get. And one of them revolves around Justin Bieber. Hopefully we'll see them all come to life before the end of the year :)
Keep up with all things Jarrad and have your mind blown a little by the images below...