Devin Allen first rose to fame in 2015, when his photograph of the Baltimore Uprising that followed the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of police was published on the cover of Time magazine. Since then he has continued to photograph the fight for social justice in his hometown of Baltimore, creating work that is not only a tribute to Black resistance but also a celebration of his community. With deep commitment and unwavering pride, Allen’s decade-long body of work serves as more than documentation—it confronts myths and brings into view what has been made invisible. Central to much of his work is a reconsideration of Black representation. His photographs, many of them created collaboratively with his subjects, serve as a call for self-realization that allows for complexity, tension, and contradiction.
This book, awarded the 2023 Gordon Parks Foundation / Steidl Book Prize, includes more than 120 of Allen’s photographs, spanning 2015–2023, many of them never published before, presented in conversation with a newly commissioned text by celebrated author and activist Darnell L. Moore. Conceived as a personal narrative about what Allen has called the texture of his Baltimore community, the book encompasses formal portraits, images of protests, and street scenes. Also included are essays by Salamishah Tillet and D. Watkins that situate Allen’s work and the history of Baltimore within the broader history of documentary photography.
Devin Allen is a self-taught artist, born and raised in West Baltimore. He was awarded the first Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship in Art in 2017. Allen gained national attention when his photograph of the 2015 Baltimore Uprising was published on the May cover of Time that year—only the third time the magazine had featured the work of an amateur photographer on its cover. Five years later, after the deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor, Time used another of Allen’s photographs on its cover, this one of a Black Trans Lives Matter protest. That same year, he was nominated for an NAACP Image Award as a debut author for his book A Beautiful Ghetto. In 2022 he published the book No Justice, No Peace. His photographs have been published in New York magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Aperture, and are in the permanent collections of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore, and the Studio Museum in Harlem. Founder of Through Their Eyes, a youth photography educational program, he is the recipient of an award for dynamic leadership in the arts and activism from the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture. Allen lives and works in Baltimore.