JOE talks to Christian Tierney about working with Conor McGregor, Macklemore and Gavin James
Christian Tierney was on holidays with his family in Italy when he realised he was trending on Twitter.
Why was he trending on Twitter? He had taken this photo of Conor McGregor at Bulmers Forbidden Fruit and seen it go massively viral when McGregor retweeted it.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) June 6, 2017
"It was a bit mad seeing that I was trending on Twitter, but I knew that it was because of Conor more so than me so I didn't think too much of it," Tierney told JOE.
"I think I've taken much better photos of him anyway, one of which was used by the likes of GQ, MTV, Complex etc and that was a lot more exciting for me than trending from his tweet."
The 20-year-old Tierney's involvement with McGregor came about by pure accident.
"It's funny that you messaged me after seeing my photo of Conor at Forbidden Fruit this year. The first photo I ever took of Conor was at Forbidden Fruit last year, we didn't meet properly then though."
He continued: "I was shooting artists performing at the festival and he arrived unexpectedly and I snapped a portrait from a distance. Somehow he saw that photo online and posted it on his Instagram without any credit so I tried to get in touch to let him know I took it but had no luck."
If you want something bad enough, you have to keep plugging away at it until you get it and Tierney's perseverance eventually paid off for him.
"A few months later I tried to get in touch again and this time I was successful. His team loved my work and asked me to shoot a trial video towards the end of 2016.
"Conor liked it so we did more together and we plan on doing a lot more in the coming year. He's been really supportive of me. It's great to know that someone like Conor McGregor is a fan of my work."
However, there is still an element of mystery surrounding Tierney's first snap of the fighter.
"I still don't know if he knows that the original Forbidden Fruit photo was taken by me, I haven't told him yet and I think it's funnier if I hold out or he finds out himself," he joked.
Being in the right place at the right time is something that has become a part of Tierney's life.
He started his YouTube channel at the age of 15 and his love of filmmaking and photography flourished. The channel was created with the aim of finding and sharing the best new Irish and international music through intimate, cinematic live sessions and interviews that he shoots himself.
Since then he has grown it into a global music platform with over 9,000,000 views and 24,000 loyal subscribers. In the channel's first year, he discovered and filmed the then unknown but soon to be global megastars, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, helping to introduce them to a wider Irish audience for the first time and has interviewed them multiple times since their rise to fame.
Two years later, he found himself recording this exclusive first live performance of an intimate version of James Bay's Let it Go.
"Most of the musicians I work with now, I met through shooting live sessions for my YouTube channel. I first met Gavin [James] about three years ago through other musicians and I got to know his manager quite well, then when the time was right and Gavin was starting to play bigger gigs and start releasing music they asked me to come on board and work with him," said Tierney.
"The first proper gig I shot with Gavin was a behind-the-scenes video of him supporting Ed Sheeran in Croke Park. That went really well so we kept working together and we've done loads together since."
As with Macklemore and James Bay, Tierney has followed Gavin James from a young age on the music scene and was one of the first people to hear one of his most famous songs.
"Funnily, the first time I ever heard Gavin James was actually when he supported Lianne La Havas in The Olympia at the beginning of 2013," he says.
"I remember he played a song that at the time he called "The Ooh Song" and it absolutely blew me away. That song ended up being called Nervous.
"I was only 16 at the time and was still finding my feet but by some twist of fate over three years later I ended up making the music video for Nervous in The Olympia."
Tierney is taking everything one step at a time.
"I don't have a solid five-year plan to be honest and there's no end goal right now, I just feel like I'm moving in the right direction so I'm going to go with it for the time being.
"I'm looking forward to doing more work with Conor [McGregor] as his career continues to grow, I have some more exciting music photography and videography projects coming up which I'm really looking forward to and I have a few bigger project ideas that I'll try and begin to execute in the next couple of years," he adds.
For an overview of Christian Tierney's various photographs as well as all his other projects, you can find his website here.