Collection: John Allen


1. What do you do when you’re not making art? (Day job etc...).

I am a retired high school English teacher. Now I spend my days studying and playing classical guitar, something I’ve done since childhood. I also read voraciously and bike, hike, and kayak with my wife, MaryJean.

2. Why do you make art?

I love composing, so I study art and music to understand the aesthetics and structures of beautiful and powerful composition. As a photographer, I love finding and framing scenes in the world that thrill my eyes and mind.

3. What inspires you?

Though my art is visual, music drives my artistic mind. When I’m out searching for photographs, I look for rhythm, texture, counterpoint, repetition and variation, and many other compositional structures used to create pieces of music.

4. What/who are your influences?

As a relatively new photographer, I’ve spent the last ten years studying the history of photography and the work of the photographers who have shaped that history. My favorites include Lewis Hine, Edward Weston, André Kertész, Walker Evans, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gary Winograd, Dawoud Bey, Carrie Mae Weems, and Sally Mann.

5. If you could meet anyone dead or alive who would it be?

I would love to have long discussions with J.S. Bach. Of all the great minds I’ve encountered in my lifelong education, Bach stands out in his ability to stretch the boundaries of form in the most profound and beautiful ways. Though he composed during the Baroque era, you can hear in Bach’s music classical, romantic, modern and contemporary musical elements that emerged in the hundreds of years after his death. He even anticipated jazz!