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Ep. 23 – Art & Activism with Devin Allen
New episode with Devin Allen talking about the power of photography...
Devin Allen is a photographer and activist from Baltimore, Maryland. Photography and activism go hand in hand for him. Devin is a self-taught photographer who shot photographs from the Freddie Gray and George Floyd protests that were both published as covers for Time Magazine.
He shares about his catapult into his photography career as an amateur, navigating the industry, and how to always keep your values at the forefront. Devin is a Gordon Parks fellow and a Leica ambassador. Hear more about Devin Allen’s journey on this episode of How You Create, Art and Activism with Devin Allen.
Who is Devin Allen? Over the past ten years, Devin has become widely known for his powerful images documenting the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests against police brutality that have taken place in the city.
Devin got his first camera in 2013 — a Canon that his grandmother had purchased for him on credit from Best Buy. The self-taught photographer had begun exploring the form a year before, taking pictures of the poetry scene in his native Baltimore with a camera on loan from a friend.
That spawned an interest in the history of photography, particularly the contributions of Black photographers, that led Allen to study the work of the late Gordon Parks, who said "I chose my camera as a weapon against all the things I dislike about America — poverty, racism, discrimination."
In 2015, following the death of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died in police custody, Allen's work took on a new urgency. He became involved in the protests and started photographing the events as they unfolded.
His images were shared widely on social media and caught the attention of media outlets around the world. His images of the protests that followed, which he first posted to his Instagram page, circulated across the country. One made it onto the cover of Time Magazine, which made him the 3rd amateur photographer to be featured on the cover of Time.
Since then, Allen has continued to use his photography to document the Black Lives Matter movement and to raise awareness about issues of police brutality and systemic racism. His work has been featured in publications such as Time Magazine, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, and he has been recognized with numerous awards and accolades.
Alongside his photography, Allen is also involved in community activism and works to support young people in Baltimore through his nonprofit organization, Through Their Eyes. Through his art and his activism, Allen has become a leading voice in the fight for social justice and equality.
Devin Allen's first book was titled "A Beautiful Ghetto". It is a collection of photographs taken by Allen in his hometown of Baltimore over the course of several years. The book features powerful images that capture the daily lives of the city's residents, as well as the protests and uprisings that have taken place in the wake of police brutality and systemic racism.
In addition to Allen's photographs, the book includes essays by prominent voices in the fields of art, activism, and social justice. The essays explore the history and culture of Baltimore, as well as the issues of poverty, inequality, and racism that continue to impact the city and its residents.
Devin Allen's newest book, "No Justice, No Peace" is a photography book that documents the protests and uprisings that took place in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody in 2015. The book features Allen's powerful images capturing the emotions, struggles, and moments of resilience of the people of Baltimore during this time.
The photographs in "No Justice, No Peace" serve as a visual testament to the community's outrage and demands for accountability and justice. The book also includes essays by Allen and other writers, activists, and community leaders, providing context and personal perspectives on the events depicted in the photographs.
If you’re in the DC area, the Leica Store is hosting an exhibition reception on March 30th featuring Devin Allen's work: No Justice, No Peace. You can register for the event here. Follow Devin on Instagram and check out more of his work on his website.
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