Tyrell McBride (b.1997) is a contemporary photographer currently residing in Dublin, Ireland. McBride’s works typically deal with memory, nostalgia, melancholia and the vernacularity of the family archive. His technique usually involves medium format black and white imagery, pairing archival and contemporary images together, to explore not only his own past, but the past of those who came before. Heavily influenced by Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, he now creates more internalised images of the family and of home, to further gain a sense of self.
"then their waters were mingled together" is the second chapter of a three chapter body of work. McBride explores the deeply personal process of grieving and catharsis following the loss of his grandmother. Using a combination of contemporary photography and archival family materials, McBride constructs a visual narrative that captures the fleeting nature of life and the emotional impact of loss. Although the photographic work does not feature the physical presence of his grandmother, she remains a powerful force through the use of poetry and obscured imagery. These elements allow McBride to create a sense of his grandmother's continued influence and presence, even in her absence.
So what is the family archive? We all have one. We’ve all combed over and seen images of our past selves printed on to photo paper tucked away in a box or book collecting dust in the attic. The very meaning of a family archive is to save the present moment for the future, even when the present moment becomes the past. Humans have an innate need to document, record and catalogue themselves and their surroundings, all for the sake of memory making. It was in the late 19th century that people truly started to document these proceedings with the invention of the camera. Nowadays pictures are almost like throwaway things, digital dust. The photograph has become more of a back-seated object rather than the phenomenon it truly is and the power a photograph can hold. The family archive is somewhat of a dying thing, images stored on phones and in the cloud are what has become the “archival image” but this is a fallacy, because if an image is stored this way, the image no longer becomes their own, for lack of a better term, it becomes nothing more than a string of ones and zeroes, organised to its original form when called upon. The printed and traditional family image has no such limitation.