Even before the peaceful protests over the death of Freddie Grey in Baltimore exploded into destructive riots on Monday, 26-year-old amateur photographer Devin Allen felt a strong need to document what was going on in his native city.
“When I first saw the news of what happened to [Freddie Grey], I knew I was going to cover it,” Allen told Time.
So, Allen took to the streets with his camera and headed right to the center of the action to capture everything in its rawest form, both good and the bad.
To get his photos out to the world as fast as possible, Allen posted his images on his Instagram account. Within hours, his pictures went viral, shared by tens of thousands of people around the globe.
Rihanna retweeted two of his photos, as did many others. His account now boasts almost 30,000 followers.
“I never thought it would get this big. My city kind of has a bad rap, but I thought if we can come together peacefully, it [would] be epic for this city, and it was my goal to capture that,” he told Time.
Amid the chaos, Allen witnessed uplifting moments and inspiring people. And he wants the media to focus more on those glimmers of positivity, rather than just the depressing images of looting and fires.
“Their neighbourhood is where everything took place… they are out cleaning their streets… The News should be asking these guys how they feel right now,” Allen captioned the below photo.
As a young black man in Baltimore, Allen says he understands the pent-up frustration behind the rioting, adding that “with all the frustration with the city, the mayor, the economy, the pot has been boiling.” It was his goal to capture all the angles of the picture, revealing things that might go unnoticed or that can give viewers a deeper understanding of what it’s like on the ground in Baltimore.
Allen is still taking pictures and posting them to Instagram. Be sure to follow him see what it’s really like on the streets of Baltimore.
NOW WATCH: Watch this angry mum in Baltimore confront her son and pull him out of the police protests
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