Back when Barack Obama first announced he was running for president, the most powerful and important endorsement he received didn’t come from the political establishment, but from the [then] queen of daytime TV, Oprah Winfrey. Her CV at the time included everything but kingmaker. Novelists, entrepreneurs, musicians, filmmakers, and everyday people fantasize about the day Ms. Winfrey taps them on the shoulder and gives her nod of approval. Photographer Devin Allen just got that moment.
In this brief bio-doc that just ran on Oprah’s OWN network as part of its Super Soul Sunday series, the 27-year-old Baltimore native whose amateur photography landed on the cover of Time magazine discusses the way violence has shaped his community, the fact that photography quite literally saved his life, and how he is simply giving voice to the rich, complex, frequently ignored or misrepresented realities of Black Baltimore.
Also: Devin Allen, the Brilliant Photographer Who Captured Baltimore’s Uprising, Talks Art and Politics
The OWN overview, though brief, is filled with examples of Allen’s work (which has garnered him prestigious gallery and museum showcases around the world.) The beauty and power of Allen’s work, the aesthetic rigor combined with almost palpable love for his subject matter, has vaulted him to MVP status, someone who will one day be mentioned in the same breath as such iconic photographers as Gordon Parks and Roy DeCarava.