The original venue for Devin Allen’s photo exhibit was always going to be a bit ironic:
The photographer’s show – including searing images from the tumultuous spring of 2015 – was to hang in City Hall.
Some of the protests around 25-year-old Freddie Gray’s death took place outside this very building five years earlier.
“The Beautiful Journey: The Lens of Devin Allen,” is now live online, hanging virtually at the Gallery in City Hall.
In an online message, Allen explains that the show’s subject matter is broad and personal, saying, “you’re going to see images of my peers and family members and people I respect in my community.”
Allen’s images of the events of 2015 gained him international attention, including a Time magazine cover. Since then, the West Baltimore native has been busy.
In the fall of 2015, he traveled through Asia and photographed NBA star Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors for Under Armour. In 2018, he shot photos and videos promoting a new Under Armour shoe.
A book of his photos documenting the Uprising, “A Beautiful Ghetto,” was published in 2017. His work has been shown at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.
Allen is known for his shots of protests and his up-close portraits of black Baltimoreans, especially kids. Almost all of his work is in black and white, with the exception of some of his work for Under Armour.
His style evokes that of Gordon Parks, a pioneering photojournalist who documented the civil rights movement for Life magazine during a long career. (Allen won a fellowship from the Gordon Parks Foundation in 2017.)
Taking over the Parks foundation’s Instagram account for a day in March, Allen and the East Baltimore writer D. Watkins celebrated Allen’s greatest influence.
“I met Devin Allen when he was early in his career as a photographer,” Watkins said, “And what I find most fascinating is that Allen’s and Gordon Parks’ images bore striking resemblances before Allen became a student of Parks’ work.”