Back in 2013, Delaney Allen was asked to succinctly define his breathtaking body of photography work. “[I seek] isolation, confusion, and beauty.” Sure enough, you’d be hard pressed to find a conventional human portrait or man-made landscape in Allen’s portfolio. “I’m alone too often to photograph others anyway.” Instead, the Fort Worth, Texas-born image-maker focuses on the arcane beauty of natural phenomenon, and how they convey various human emotions and coping mechanisms.
His 2014 photo-series Getting Lost was made after the death of his grandfather and the break-up of a relationship. It was inspired too by Connecticut nature essayist Rachel Sonit’s A Field Guide To Getting Lost, a novel about the wandering the cities of America as an uncertain adult. As such, Getting Lost — which helped land Allen the Portland Monthly Magazine Artist To Watch award in 2015 — matches widescreen shots of gloriously empty expanses with white waters, rough and ragged terrines, Turner-esque skylines and wildly colourful still lifes.
Shot between Texas and Oregon over the course of two years, Allen’s awe-inspiring debut series, 2010’s Between Here and There, charts the disintegration of a partnership as the subjects trail across country. Mixing mystical shots of cave entrances, forest ceilings and wild fauna with xeroxed email threads shared between the pair, Between Here and There is an ethereal trip into romantic estrangement. The project was awarded a “Best Books of 2010” prize by Photo-Eye magazine.
After graduating with an MFA in Visual Studies from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2010, Allen has had his work shown at some of the world’s most prestigious art institutions — from New York’s Aperture Foundation to Tokyo’s Institute of Photography. He is currently represented by Portland’s Nationale gallery.