Tale of Three Cities by Tyler McNally

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BIO: Born in Lisnaskea, Northern Ireland to a working class, single parent family (something that profoundly influenced his life). Tyler studied at Queen’s University Belfast for three years before dropping out of his Philosophy course to dedicate himself to Photography. He has been published frequently in left wing political publications and more mainstream media outlets. Now 22, Tyler is devising new photographic projects that aim to give a voice to the voiceless, giving attention to matters that don’t interest big media or telling their stories in the honest light they deserve. Don McCullin, Jim Mortram and James Nachtwey are his work’s biggest influences. His work is distinctly of a documentary/Journalistic nature rather than being purely standalone art pieces for aesthetic pleasure, they are pieces of Northern Ireland’s visual history.”

SYNOPSIS: Belfast is a city that has been heavily divided for decades, like much of Northern Ireland; there are clashes on the streets and in the chambers on the issues of the past, parades and more with little sign of any relief or change.

“Tale of Three Cities” is a short story detailing recent clashes between Republicans, Loyalists and the State over the last two years. These clashes in Ardoyne, Woodvale and even Royal Avenue have had a lasting impact on the City and highlight the dominance of Sectarian division in Northern Irish Society.

At this point you’re wondering, what is the ‘Third City?’ Throughout the horrors of the Troubles, when Northern Ireland was on the brink of civil war, there was one force that stood and tried to unite Catholics and Protestants against the bloodshed and continues to do so today. Trade Unionism forms a huge part of Belfast and Northern Ireland’s History but it is one seldom told as a history of endless division and sectarian hatred is more convienant for those in power.

The point of these images is to highlight how fluid the situation in Belfast city is, with a single city, its many streets looking radically different as different sections of the populous come out to the streets for protests, parades or even riots with Police. The images are laid out in a strict storyboard which tells the story of Belfast’s recent street struggles from the point of view of Loyalism, starting with a man holding a Union Flag proudly on the 11th of July 2012, the last year the Orange parade would pass through the contentious Ardoyne area. The images detail the rise of Loyalist and Republican protest since including the huge battle that broke out between Loyalists and the PSNI in Woodvale last July.

The image of the men holding Union Flags in front of the Water Cannons shows the sheer will of defiance these people had after 7 months of protesting the removal of the Union Flag from Belfast City Hall and against an increasingly more militaristic and aggressive police force. This is juxtaposed with the image of the trampled flag which I feel best demonstrates how the State has reacted to all protests over the last three years.

Belfast can only be one City but right now it is a different city to many different cultural identities. They clash and overlap constantly.

NIPSA is Northern Ireland’s largest Trade Union, and I wanted the last image to be one of a young boy holding a NIPSA flag on a May Day march in 2012, he represents everything about ‘The Third Force’ he’s determined, wants unity between Catholics and Protestants, he wants one city for all people not what we have now. A carve up.”



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