July 7, 2013

Ciaran Whyte interviewed by Jan Murphy

" Being an artist is so much more than just knowing the rules. I'm continually amazed and inspired by some amazing photographers and models that produce art way above and beyond what I do today. But I hope to get there one day :)"

Interviewed by Jan Murphy
UdA Art Editor and Photographer

I was recently told about an Ireland based photographer by the name of Ciaran Whyte.

When looking at his work, it became clear that he was a very amazing artist and one that was happy to work hard to get the correct model for the image and/or message he was trying to convey.

He has worked with some amazing models and his work does truly show you a range of styles, forever evolving and I really would like you to hear the rest from the artist himself.

You'll find him on his official site (with his blog), Net Model, Model Mayhem, deviantART.

Art Model Ivory Flame

What I love about your work Ciaran is that it seems totally unpretentious - this is what pulled me into your images. When I read more about you, I can see that you REALLY enjoy what you do, you love the fun aspect but you take your work very seriously.


Art Model Monilicious
Yes, I really do love photography. In "real" life I have my own business, which can be very demanding both in terms of time and also work load. I started shooting 5 years ago, when the business was just 2 years old and really just in it's infancy.

What started out as a hobby, something to do in my down time, soon became an obsession. Now, it's my only release.

It's an outlet, which is so completely removed from what I do day to day and I enjoy it thoroughly. I enjoy the whole process, from the technical aspects of taking an image through to the art of it.

As for taking things seriously, this probably spills over from my working personality. From taking my first image, right through to the last one I've taken, I've always wanted to improve, so I've worked hard at it. This probably makes me come across quite serious - possibly more than I really am :)

"Madame Bink"

Art Model Madame Bink

What was it about photography that drew you to it ? Or did the art find you ?

I'm not ashamed to admit, that it was the gadget freak in me that drew me to photography originally.

When dSLR's came down to a reasonable price point, I rushed out and bought one - a Nikon D70 at the time. This was my first ever camera and I really just wanted it as a toy. But as soon as I started to delve into photography I started to love images.
As for "art"... well this is something that came much later. For the first few years I only ever really focused on the technical aspects of photography. Sure I followed the rules of composition etc. but I never really thought about the art of photography.

Now that I feel comfortable with the technicalities of capturing an image, I've started to try and develop my artistic side. I find this quite rewarding (at times) but also extremely frustrating. Being an artist is so much more than just knowing the rules. I'm continually amazed and inspired by some amazing photographers and models that produce art way above and beyond what I do today. But I hope to get there one day :)

Art Model Iveta Niklova -

I really love the images with the stunning effect such as 'Monika' (shown here) - they really stand out to
me. Would you share with us your favourite from this set and tell us a little about how and why you decided to do these works ?


Art Model Monilicious

In Ireland, we have a photographic federation which is called the Irish Photographic Federation (IPF), very similar to the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) in the UK. These societies offer various levels of distinctions to it's members, where you submit panels of images for accreditation. Your panel is judged and if it is successful you are awared a distinction.
There are 3 levels of award with different requirements for each level. Once you have received one, you are then allowed go forward for the second and then on to the third. This body of work was for my Fellowship panel (the highest accreditation), which I'm delighted to say was successful back in April.


I decided to opt for natural light, artistic nude images, with no styling or make-up (well maybe just a little make-up). The texture was something I added to try and make the images my own, something I've added to the image.

I wanted the panel to be viewed as art as opposed to a simple set of photographs and I certainly think the texture overlay helped achieve that goal.

As for my favourite image, it's probably the one you linked to of Monika. Unlike most of the models in the panel, I hadn't worked with Monika before and I was blown away by how beautiful she was. So yes.. probably that image out of them all :)

You can see here my whole fellowship panel and my previous panels here : Associateship and Licentiatship

The models you worked with have a specific look yet they are all so unique too. Why did you choose the ones you did and do feel free to share a little about those you shot with ?

I tend to work with models that focus primarily on artistic nude, as opposed to other genre's like glamour, fetish or erotic (although some models do cross over into these genres). I'm interested in trying to create beautiful images as opposed to sexy or sassy images, so pure art nude models are the perfect fit for the shots I'm trying to create.

It's a pretty small community in Ireland/UK and I've been really lucky with the models I've worked with so far. At this stage now, I've probably shot with over 40 models, primarily from the UK. Obviously I can't name them all... but I would like to say a big thanks to them regardless, because my images really are nothing without them. However there are a few whom I either continue to work with time and time again or ones that have made me think "wow" :

Art Model Ivory Flame

My all time favourite model has to be Ivory Flame - an Oxford based model. Ivory is the ultimate art nude model... beautiful (inside and out), graceful, elegant... everything ! Ivory Flame's images continue to inspire me.

"Morning Light"
Art Model Madame Bink
A model that frequently works with Ivory Flame, her partner in crime so to speak, is Madame Bink, another UK model and another outstanding model.

"The female Christ"Art Model Iveta Niklova 
Others of note are Iveta Niklova , who's featured on your site before.

Art Model and Illustrator Ulorin Vex -


Art Model KatyT

Katy T, originally from the UK but now lives and work in the US but travels back to Europe once a year.

On your website you cover Street Photography and Places to name two other categories. Where do you feel most comfortable with your photography ? Or do you see that you have more then one niche so to speak ?

"Behind the wire" - Iran

Ever since I started shooting, I've been shooting people.

This is my main and possibly only personal interest in photography.

At the start I worked with models, simply until I had a grasp of the basics of capturing an image. From there I went out into the big bad world and started
shooting on the streets.
I found it very easy if I have to be honest and had no problems approaching complete strangers asking them could I take their picture. I think this direct engagement with the people I was shooting added a lot to my images. So where ever I travel, I tend to bring my camera with me, walk the streets and capture the people I meet.

One great example of this was where I travelled to Iran spending two weeks travelling the length of the country shooting the people there.

Art Model Hannah Ashlea

But, as much as I love street photography, I don't find it as rewarding as working with models, simply because I'm not exercising my creative side as much. So I guess you could say I'm more comfortable at the moment in my model photography.

I enjoy the whole creative process from planning the shoot, choosing the model, the styling, the location, the lighting and the mood of the shot. This is something I don't get from street photography. But I'm hoping to try and combine both disciplines in the future.. watch this space :)

Ciaran, I would love you to tell to our readers some thoughts/tips/experiences, or just words of wisdom before you head back to creating beautiful artwork.


Art Model Ella Rose

This is a tough one ! I'm pretty good at giving specific technical advice or debating a technical point about photography, but I still feel very much a novice when it comes to "artistic" photography so it's hard to share any thoughts or offer any advice.

One thing that has certainly helped my photography and helped me enjoy this hobby which I love, is the models that have worked with me. So I guess I'd offer the suggestion that people should try and book and work with these models (not necessarily the ones I've named.. but models in general).

The models I know, spend so much time away from family and friends, travelling the length and breadth of their own countries as well as travelling internationally... all for very little renumeration. I think it's important that photographers support these people financially, by offering them work where they can. I know most of the models, model primarily because they love their art, but the income helps ensure they can devote their time to it and stay modelling for a longer time. So it's win, win for all of us.

Art Model Monilicious

Could you choose three of your all time favourite images and tell us why ?

Three of my all time favourites... you don't ask for much :) I won't order these if that's OK ? And I'm sure if you asked me on a different day, these would change :)

The first one I'll choose is this BW portrait of Lloyd. This was from my first and so far only shoot with a male model. It was a completely different experience, but one I really enjoyed. This shot has probably been published more than any others and has been in more exhibitions too. Unfortunately Lloyd doesn't have a website that I can provide links to :

'Lloyd. A Portrait'Art Model Lloyd

The second one and another B&W is one of
Kayt Webster Brown. Kayt is an incredibly expressive model. I remember the sheer thrill and adrenaline rush I experienced when I was shooting her. I know I've said this about Ivory Flame, but Kayt's work and in particular her work with Paul Godfrey continues to amaze and inspire me. I was due to work with her again this year, but unfortunately the snow got in the way ! So hopefully I'll get the opportunity again in the future :

"Kayt in monochrome"Art Model Kayt Webster Brown

For the third, I'll opt for this shot of Lou. It was terrible weather on the day and we all feared we wouldn't get any images at all. This was grabbed quickly between a short break in the weather and it just all worked :

"A break in the clouds"
Art Model Lou

Is there anything else that you wish to share with us ?

I think I've blabbed on for long enough. I just want to say thanks again for asking me :)

Thank you for your time, your inner thoughts, your passion and for sharing a part of you today. It has been most insightful. Speak soon and see you sooner am sure.


unbearable lightness said...

This is a photographer with a distinctive style - nice to see him in his cultural context. Great job, Jan!

.mosa said...

beautiful work

MadameBink said...