Two Irish photographers offer a multiplatform creation

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Since his first professional shoot at the age of 15 (he wore his Junior Cert results party worthy of the occasion), photographer Christian Tierney has built an impressive career. From touring with pop sensations Niall Horan and Hailee Steinfeld to capturing candid moments from Rihanna and Lizzo, the man-from-Dublin star has only gone up.

Elsewhere, after a similar rise, photographer Cian Duignan has built a remarkable career, working on tours with international artists across Europe and the US, photographing a string of celebrities including The Rolling Stones, Billie Eilish, Kendrick Lamar, Pharell Williams, Dua Lipa, The 1975 and The Kooks.

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With Ireland being a small country and the photography industry even smaller, it’s no surprise that the two eventually intersect. In 2017, while touring with some of the world’s biggest artists, the duo struck up a friendship based on a mutual love for music, art and fashion.

“We met just before I moved to New York, and we clicked right away,” says Duignan. “We had conversations at the time about what we could do together, but we were both really busy. We used to see each other once a year, but when lockdown hit we started hanging out together.”

“Once we figured out that we both make music, it just felt right that that would be the project. We’ve been into it for the past two years.”

As touring photographers, the young men had developed a love for music production – a travel-friendly hobby well-suited to creative types working odd hours on the road.

“On the road, Christian it’s the same, you have a lot of downtime,” explains Duignan. “We both independently chose music production as something we did to pass the time in hotel rooms, as well as another creative outlet. There’s a lot of sitting time on tour.”

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In New York, Cian had spent years working at famed East Village recording studio Mercy Sound, where he worked with platinum-selling artists Azealia Banks, Travis McCoy and Grammy-winning recording artist Sidney. Mills.

In Dublin, Christian gained experience working on his brother Alex Tierney’s debut single. Above the maybes – a song that was written, recorded and produced in their family home during lockdown before being sent to LA to be mixed by Post Malone and James Blake’s musical director, Jonas Jalhay.

“I had been producing music for about four or five years by then, just as a hobby in hotel rooms,” Tierney explains. “When lockdown hit I wanted to take a break from photography and really wanted the opportunity to get into music production.”

“Talking to labels in the UK about Alex, we’ve had great feedback on the production,” he adds. “It gave me a lot of confidence and I started to think I could do it. A few months later, me and Duignan got together and we played what we had been working on.”

When their paths finally crossed and the stars aligned, the two quickly realized that focusing on just one discipline wouldn’t be enough. From there, Volleyball was born.

“Even with photography, I draw inspiration from things that aren’t photography,” Tierney explains, “like movies, clothes, jewelry, and painting. Naturally, we like to make things, and we like beautiful things. , so we started talking about what volleyball could be and not putting limits on it.”

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Inspired by those who are successful on various platforms (Kanye West, Michael Jordan, Rihanna and The Safdie Brothers), Christian and Duignan decided to use Volleyball as a generic name for their various interests and areas of creativity yet to be explored.

To kick off (volley)ball on their creative journey, the duo released their sunny single titled mid summerbut insist there’s plenty more to come, including a recently announced jewelry line in association with jeweler Katie Mullally and an experiential video in collaboration with 46A Productions.

“A lot of creatives will be successful in certain areas but they always see things differently,” says Duignan. “Having your hands in other things is more of a natural inclination for artists, trying to look at things and wondering how you can put your mark on it. We found that super naturally, in a way that we do music, but we don’t see it as a musical project.”

“Almost all photographers do video now and all videographers do graphic design,” adds Tierney. “Everything is so multifaceted and interdependent that it seems weird to do just one thing.”

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As for mid summer? It’s a summer vibe.

mid summer came to us maybe two months ago,” says Duignan. “It was just fun and like it was the right time of year. We just wanted to start with something that everyone could enjoy. Coming off the last two years, it’s nice to have music to dance to and have a good time.”

“We love the track so much, it’s so summery,” adds Tierney. “Volleyball, as a concept, confused people, so we wanted to release a single that anyone could get immediately.”

“So we can start confusing them with other stuff,” he laughs.

You can listen mid summer here and read more about volleyball here.

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