The man behind the lens

Published on Ms Claudia Harrison (author), LSIS Bradley Darvill (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Arunta (F151), North East Asia Deployment

Leading Seaman Imagery Specialist Bradley Darvill collects imagery with an 800mm lens onboard HMAS Arunta during the North East Asian Deployment 2015. (photo: LSIS Bradley Darvill)
Leading Seaman Imagery Specialist Bradley Darvill collects imagery with an 800mm lens onboard HMAS Arunta during the North East Asian Deployment 2015.

Leading Seaman Imagery Specialist Bradley Darvill has the exciting job of capturing all the interesting and amazing things the Royal Australian Navy does on a day to day basis, and in particular, as a member of the ship's company of HMAS Arunta, has the job of the embarked Imagery Specialist during its North East Asian deployment.
 
He calls being an Imagery Specialist having a “back stage pass” to the daily work of the Navy.
 
“The things I have seen and done, the places I have been - these are not things you would normally get to do in the outside world, or even as a regular sailor,” Leading Seaman Darvill said.
 
The photographer, from Brisbane, joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1997 as an Electronics Technician and initially spent six years in this role before changing over to a photographer in 2003, having already completed a Certificate IV in photography. He has been surprised that the photographing and videoing tasks he has undertaken have been so varied.
 
“I’ve been tasked to shoot anything from major events like the International Fleet Review, ship deployments, disaster assistance and accident investigations, down to promotions and presentations,” Leading Seaman Darvill said.
 
“But this is the part of my job that I especially love.

“The variety and how it always keeps me on my toes.

“Every day is different and every time I wake up, I never know how the day will end.”
 
Leading Seaman Darvill has been on a wide range of deployments. He has an impressive history which includes four tours to both East Timor and Bougainville in Landing Craft, HMAS Wewak, a deployment to the North Arabian Gulf and Gulf States in HMAS Ballarat, work in Afghanistan as an Imagery Analyst, and he has deployed on a number of humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions including Operations SUMATRA ASSIST and PHILIPPINES ASSIST. He was also involved in Operation SOUTHERN INDIAN OCEAN on ADV Ocean Shield, as part of the Australian Defence Force support to the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
 
“I have also had lots of other short ‘hops’ and am now really enjoying the work on this North East Asian deployment including recently being tasked to take imagery for Australia and India’s first bilateral maritime activity known as AUSINDEX15,” said Leading Seaman Darvill.
 
When this photographer gets home after this deployment, he is looking forward to sleep and lots of it.
 
“The life of an Imagery Specialist on deployment involves lots of long hours,” he said.

“Most sailors have no idea of the amount of work and time it takes to get images and video out to the general public.”
 
While everyone else has finished the activity, packed up and ‘gone home’, the Imagery Specialist still faces many hours of processing, writing metadata for each image, arranging clearance, and then finally transmitting imagery back to headquarters for publication. It can easily equate to 18 hour days.
 
But would Leading Seaman Darvill do any other job? No way he says. Being an Imagery Specialist, to him, is still the best job in the Navy and he would not have it any other way.