Before April, few people knew who Baltimore photographer Devin Allen was. Then came April’s unrest, which Allen chronicled with a careful eye and a real affection for the city. One of his candid shots even made the cover of Time–and now that image is being called one of the best magazine covers of 2015.
The other “best” covers mostly include fancy, highly choreographed shots, such as the Annie Leibovitz portrait of Caitlyn Jenner for Vanity Fair and a stylized image of Nicki Minaj on the cover of the New York Times Magazine. Allen’s appears to be the only candid, action shot by an amateur photographer in the bunch. And it also helped make it so that Allen is no longer an amateur: He’s shot images of the city for New York and other high profile magazines, and had his first solo museum exhibit at the Reginald F. Lewis museum earlier this year.
“The cover of TIME was huge and life changing,” Allen said of the image. “It was mazing not just for me, but for my city; showing us how even the little people can change the world… The TIME cover has made me somewhat of a D-list celebrity. But the most important thing is that it has put me in a position to help my community. I have started my own photography outreach program working with the youth on Penn-North. 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.”