Winter provides some of the best conditions for photography! With snowfall covering everything white, Christmas lights filling up our cities high stre…
Russ Tierney - Photographer of the Month - November '18
I’m Russ and I’m a photoholic. I predominantly shoot portraits that are fun, silly, quirky, weird, and provocative that explores moral concepts. Anything really that I think is an interesting idea and can get together.
How did you get into photography?
I think it’s always been something lingering. I remember as a child getting a little red point and shoot camera on a magazine about trick photography, so I must have convinced my parents it was something I wanted, as you as a child. I was amazed by a photo on the cover of someone in the foreground made to look like they’re holding someone small who are just in the distance and perfectly positioned behind. I think I understood it but, of course, never followed through besides taking random shots on this little film camera. That’s my earliest memory at least! I always loved Polaroid’s as a child too, the excitement of this thing developing in front of you as you capture this real moment, when things were far less technologically advanced. It was incredible, and I now have a Polaroid and Fuji Instax too.
After I left school, I spent years playing in bands and, when I fell out of love for music, there was something there calling me to take the leap into photography. Having met so many photographers who photographed our gigs, I think I wanted to improve on the photos of myself that (I thought) could have turned out better, being completely naive as to how difficult low lighting photography is. From here, it was a matter of biting the bullet, buying some basic gear, and thinking that this is what I want to do now. Of course, the natural progression was to shoot live music early on and I’ve since photographed bands ranging from Kiss to Ellie Goulding to Napalm Death!
What can you tell us about your entry, ”Feeding Time“, in September’s Friendship photo competition?
We used to live in the Midlands and you get two trips for the price of one to the West Midlands Safari Park, so it was a nice trip to do twice a year with the camera. I managed to win an award for the first photography exhibition they held from photos of a previous visit, then I won further passes, and this shot is a result of one of those visits. I’m a very introverted person who doesn’t really enjoy living something but much prefers to photograph it.
Part of the fun for me is trying to get a few great shots and I was just lucky it was quite literally feeding time when we pulled up to the Asian rhino enclosure. One ran the distance of the substantial enclosure with excitement when (s)he realised what was happening. It was so cute! Sure, they’re being fed, but there’s a definite sense of friendship, plus I have other photos of the handler stroking and patting them down too. Then there’s the context with the vehicle, the freezing of the carrot mid-air and the open mouth. It’s not a big, and it’s not a clever shot, it’s just a really nice one full of narrative.
Do you have any particular style of photography you specialise in?
My main passion is creative and bespoke portraiture. It’s really hard to say that with conviction but I often get told that my ideas are slightly off the wall and different. I guess when you do what you think and envision, it’s not really new to you.
What do you enjoy about photography?
It’s the creative outlet, the exploration. It’s replaced music in that respect, but instead of being the rhythm guy I’m now the author and songwriter, so it’s far more fulfilling.
Tell us about one of your projects/your work
I have a few, all a little quirky and NSFW. At the moment I have a triptych project going on that’s a little risqué that I dip in and out of as and when, and also an abstract project that is implied – which basically means nude but covered by limbs or objects. They’re my two most coherent projects that can be boxed as it were.
If you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring photographers what would it be?
Read, learn, love, but don’t be persuaded by opinion while trusting your instincts. If you love it, do it. Painting by numbers is what all books teach, how to manipulate the industry and that may well be good for consistent results if you’re wanting to get paid doing everyday stuff, but it’s not going to make you stand out. The best way to be original is to be you and not be scared of that! Take in and be influenced by what you love and ignore the rest. I don’t subscribe to be receptive of everything that is thrown at you, especially as an introvert and in the age of social media, just engage with what inspires and try to control the rest from being too intrusive, yet being self-aware enough to learn from it should you wish!
Where can we see your work?
Do you have any plans for the rest of the year?
I’m nearing completion of my new studio space to coincide with the Splash Point Photo brand where I also hope to do underwater shoots and premium portrait packages for one-offs such as bridal, special occasions or just that bespoke adventure! At the moment I’ve done one underwater test shoot and hope to add to that portfolio and refine my skills in ye olde H20.