Baltimore photographer Devin Allen under contract with Under Armour

.@byDVNLLN on his work with Under Armour, his commitment to Baltimore and how travel changed his worldview:

At the time an email from Under Armour landed in Baltimore photographer Devin Allen's inbox in June, he had never been out of the country.

Two months later, he was traveling across Asia, photographing NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry in Japan, the Philippines, Beijing and Shanghai.

In 2016, Allen, the 27-year-old photographer who rose to prominence when his photo taken during April's unrest landed on the cover of Time, will continue to bring his efforts to Under Armour in the form of print and social media work.

"I wanted to stay here and work with Baltimore. Most people in Baltimore get to a certain level and they leave," Allen said. "Even though it was a negative situation that put me in this position, it also put me in a position to give back."

Allen has been under contract with Under Armour since August, when he shot the Curry campaign, the Baltimore-based athletic apparel company confirmed. The most fruitful part of the relationship, Allen said, has been Under Armour's support for his artistic vision.

Though he is accustomed to street-style photography and marching alongside protesters, his commercial work for the brand has retained his style.

The only differences, Allen said, are that some of the Under Armour photos are in color (his other work is exclusively black and white), and that the photos for the company go through an approval process.

"My work was still raw, but I shot black and white and I shot color. Working with them is pushing me to the next level," Allen said. "They allow me to work freely."

Under Armour also brought the self-taught photographer to San Diego to photograph boxer Saul "Canelo" Alvarez at training camp. Allen's 2016 projects with the company are in the works.

Bringing in a steady paycheck and being able to stay in Baltimore were paramount for Allen. 

"I still have a daughter and a family," he said. "I just want to give back to Baltimore right now while I still have all this attention."

A Baltimore home base has its perks, but so does traveling — which Allen acknowledged has shaped his worldview. Growing up in the city has proved beneficial in his globetrotting, however; Allen said he doesn't have any fear in a new city, because he "grew up on the streets."

"Traveling so much, it changed how I looked at things. I was contained in this small box in Baltimore, maybe going to New York or Miami," Allen said. "It changed how I looked at the world and my activism. I have a certain kind of calmness now about me."

qkelley@baltsun.com

twitter.com/quinnrkelley

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