Famed Baltimore photographer Devin Allen, who immortalized the Baltimore uprising with his images, releases his debut book, A Beautiful Ghetto.
The 144-page book is filled with portraits of West Baltimore urbanites going through their day-to-day lives before gradually turning towards the various protests throughout the city, including the one that birthed the famous Time cover.
“This book is a visual story of the uprising,” writes Allen. “It’s also the story of Baltimore, Freddie Gray, and so many countless others who grow up, work,and raise their families in places like Baltimore. This book is to challenge the stigma, to show the beautiful side of the ghetto, and hope-fully to inspire others to love, respect, and invest in our communities.”
“The images tell an incredible story,”says Haymarket managing editor Julie Fain. “What’s interesting to me is that Devin really left everything [up] to the reader. He felt strongly that the reader needed to look at the images on their own without his interpretation coming in-between.”
A Beautiful Ghetto includes five essays: a foreword by African American Studies scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an abridged timeline of Freddie Gray’s death by fellow Baltimore creative, Dwight D. Watkins and an essay on Gray by local author Wes Moore; a piece on photography criticism by curator Aaron Bryant, and a few poems by Tariq Touré scattered throughout the book.
Allen came to national prominence in 2015 when his photo was chosen as the cover of Time Magazine. The monochromatic photo features a lone man with a bandana over his mouth, running from a throng of policemen in riot gear. The cover later made Time’s Top Magazine Covers of 2015 list, further propelling Allen into the limelight.
All images Devin Allen.