Baltimore based photographer, Devin Allen has always used his camera to tell the truth. He engrossed viewers across the globe with his raw and honest photography following the death of Freddie Gray and armed with his camera, depicted the overflowing tensions and frustrations of Baltimore residents in his neighborhood and across the city. His images quickly found their way being re-posted and swarming the Internet, splattered across the profiles and timelines of everyday people to superstars like Rihanna, and later, on the cover of TIME magazine. Although the 26-year old’s talent has taken him across the globe and landed him a dream job with Under Armour, he continues to stay connected and devoted to the people of Baltimore, especially the youth.

Using his love of the arts and devotion to uplift the city’s young people, in 2015 he launched “Through Their Eyes,” an arts collaborative showcase that partners Allen with students in Baltimore city schools to learn the skills of photography and display their images in art exhibitions. With arts education programs in schools across the country being cut and underfunded, the need for fine arts programs for students is imperative especially for those who lean on creative spaces to express, explore, and deter them from negative alternatives. After Allen had his first solo art showcase last year, he was inspired by the many youth he interacted with to take his motivational approach a step further. He began teaching at Kids Safe Zone, a drop-in community center, donating his time and money to give cameras to budding photographers and hold youth photography workshops. He went on to develop a longer more enriching mentorship with seven middle school students, whose works recently went on to be displayed at local arts venue, The Motor House.

Coming from the same communities and sharing similar backgrounds as many of the kids he teaches, Allen feels very connected to the students he works with. In regards to giving back to his beloved city of Baltimore, Allen told Yes! Magazine:

“This is the most important thing I can do.”

Since first picking up the camera in 2013, Allen has quickly made a name for himself as a storyteller. His talent for creating images that move masses is leading the way to him becoming a legendary force in the world of art and photography, similar to his inspiration, Gordon Parks. As more and more youth follow his lead and find ways to channel their everyday occurrences and struggles behind the lens of camera, he is helping shift the all too often dim trajectory plaguing America’s young black youth. With every flash, Allen is doing his part to change that outcome one camera at a time.

If you have any unused cameras that you think could benefit this awesome program, check out Devin’s Twitter account to find out how you can help.

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