We all know Devin Allen for his work taking gorgeous, striking photos documenting the protests and anguish on the streets of Baltimore following Freddie Gray’s infamous death. First sharing his work on social media, most notably on his Instagram account, Allen got his big break when Time Magazine used his photo on one of its covers in May 2015.
Now Allen is a contracted photographer for Under Armour in print and social media.
Earlier this summer, Allen was first invited to work with Under Armour in Asia, where he took photos of NBA MVP Stephen Curry in Japan, the Philippines, Beijing and Shanghai.
Allen claims that Under Armour, a Baltimore-based sports apparel company, has been highly supportive of his vision as a photographer in the world of commercial content, even though Allen got his chops doing street-style shots of Black Lives Matter protestors.
“Working with them is pushing me to the next level,” Allen said. “They allow me to work freely.”
Under Armour also brought Allen to San Diego to take shots of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez during training. Allen, a young father, says he’s grateful to have consistent work with a reputable brand to support his family and put his city on the map. He commented that his street smarts have proven fruitful now that he’s traveling the world to pursue the career that he loves.
“Traveling so much, it changed how I looked at things. I was contained in this small box in Baltimore, maybe going to New York or Miami,” Allen said. “It changed how I looked at the world and my activism. I have a certain kind of calmness now about me.”
Allen’s contract with Under Armour is only the latest news of his career success in 2015. Samsung is now also sponsoring Allen’s photography workshop program for Baltimore children.
From July 10 to Dec 7, the photographer held his first solo show, “Devin Allen: Awakenings, In A New Light,” at Baltimore’s Reginald F. Lewis Museum. The exhibit showcased his photos on riots, protests and communities peacefully gathering—all revealing the ups and downs of how the city was navigating its way through the public frustration with police brutality. One part of the exhibit showed a photo timeline of the events surrounding Freddie Gray’s death and chalkboard walls for visitors to write their reactions.
“I want to see what everyone is thinking. What do you feel, what do you see?” Allen said. “Everybody is going to look at the pictures and get something different.”
Earlier this month, Allen’s Time cover was deemed one of the magazine’s best covers in 2015 by its editors. Ironically, the very photo that put Allen’s career on fire is one that he considers to be a rather mediocre shot.
“I thought it was an OK picture, but I did not know how powerful it was. I never thought it would become an iconic image.”
Allen lists Gordon Parks and Andy Warhol as his biggest inspirations. Now he’s been featured in some of the country’s biggest publications including New York Magazine, the Washington Post, the New York Times and Yahoo!
“Even though it was a negative situation that put me in this position, it also put me in a position to give back,” Allen said.
“I just want to continue giving back to my community. I want to document issues I feel connected to.”