Devin Allen’s iconic photos of Baltimore are making their way into an exhibition at the Smithsonian’s newest museum.
“More Than a Picture” will feature images that reflect on crucial moments in African-American history and “look beyond the surface to see the photographs’ significance to history and cultural meaning,” according to a release. The Smithsonian’s announcement features an untitled image of Allen’s (above) that displays a man standing on the sidewalk across the street from a row of dilapidated Baltimore row homes in November 2015.
Allen’s images of the unrest and aftermath launched him to stardom, including a TIME Magazine cover, appearances on international news outlets and endless features about his life and craft. Allen has since used his popularity to fund youth photography initiatives in Baltimore, speak at talks around the city and donate images of those fateful moments to local museums.
The photographer is enjoying a renewed wave of exposure this year. In February, the Gordon Parks Foundation granted him a fellowship to continue his previously crowdsourced “Through Their Eyes” youth photography project. And in June, Chicago-based publisher Haymarket Books will release his new photography book, “A Beautiful Ghetto.”
The Smithsonian’s new exhibition will open on May 5 in the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Special Exhibitions Gallery on the main floor. Allen’s shots will appear alongside ones by “Million Man March” chronicler Roderick Terry, Pulitzer Prize winner John White, MacArthur Fellowship recipient Camilo Vergara and many others, as well as portraits of historic black figures like Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. DuBois.
The show should be extremely powerful to all who can obtain tickets. If you’d like to go, make sure you’re ready to buy your passes at 6:30 a.m., as they have a habit of selling out within minutes.
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