Photographer Devin Allen was “just a kid from the hood with a camera” documenting his hometown, until his powerful images of protests following Freddie Gray’s death–culminating in a black-and-white Time Magazine cover–thrust him into the spotlight. Now, he’s using his influence to give the city’s youth an opportunity to capture what they see, introduce the world at large to his world, and his vision–and live out his own dreams in the process.
By Andres Tardio at The Hundreds:
Since his TIMEcover, Allen has launched a youth photography program, run by donations from Russell Simmons, Samsung, himself. He works with some of these students “hand-in-hand,” he says, while giving cameras to other youngsters to let them “do what they do.” He mentors them all and calls their recent exhibit one of his “proudest moments.”
“Each kid had their best three pictures put up and I worked with about seven kids from my neighborhood,” he says with pride. “That was amazing.”
By bringing the reality of the streets into the academic realm, Devin’s been able to showcase the struggles and triumphs of inner city life in a way that is often unseen. He’s also been able to highlight police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement from a photojournalistic lens, providing further context to ongoing dialogue about the state of our nation and law enforcement.
Those are also all examples of how Devin’s journey sees no boundaries. He’s catapulted into new territories with almost every step, using each opportunity as a building block. His work as a speaker, for instance, has led to his work in publishing.
This story was originally published on June 1st, 2016.