Q&A: Delaney Allen — Red Orange


Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? If trying to raise a toddler while you and your partner are working as freelance photographers happen to be a philosophy then that’s my current one. Is daily repetition a philosophy? What will baffle future generations about our day and age? Wasted time. Even as the internet has gotten faster we still have to pause for pages to load or shows to buffer. And we fill our days with pointless distractions online. We drive a lot as well. As self-driving cars become a reality I think people will be more productive when they couldn’t before. Are you aware of any conspiracies? Like JFK and such? Growing up outside of Dallas I was well aware of those conspiracies. What is it that interests you about photography? Individualism. A lot of the other arts I’m interested in tend to be heavy on collaboration. What is the worst thing about city life? As an adult I’ve spent good amounts of time in Boston, Massachusetts, Austin, Texas and here in Portland. I’ve always had/have problems with finding parking in these cities. Too many times spent circling city streets. What part of the planet would you like to explore? Cave of the Crystals in Mexico. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? No one particular but rather anyone working towards equal rights for everyone. Pick a field of science to be an expert within. Easy. Meteorology. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t? I can’t think of any particular moment but there have been instances when I shot something with my iPhone rather than getting my camera out. I tend to regret those moments. Choose a job you would be willing to do for free on the side. I’d like to sequence other peoples photos. Just do impromptu edits. How often do you take other people’s advice? I’m always willing to listen but being freelance I’m mostly having to listen to myself. Describe a personal hell. Hanging out totally sober at a rave in 1999.

Which living person do you most admire? Single mothers. Now into two years as a parent, I can’t understand how those women can manage to work and raise a kid at the same time. On what occasion do you lie? I lie to myself almost every day and it’s called procrastinating. What was the last crime you witnessed? We live in a strange part of the city where we witness relatively simple crimes almost daily. Lots of drug use and prostitution. What is the best way to educate yourself? Youtube. What is the next book you want to read? This past Christmas I gave my brother a copy of a book about the director and cinematographer Nicolas Roeg. I’ve been wanting to order one for myself for some time. Ultimate camera? Not my thing. I use what’s around. But also the Hubble Telescope. Most used camera? Canon 5D Mark IV. What object do you want? I really want a meteorite. Can nature be an object? Is a meteorite nature? I’d also like my external hard drives back that were stolen from my house in 2017. Two years worth of work I’m not getting back. What object do you need? A new computer. Desperately. I’m afraid to update this thing. How would you explain the internet to someone from the 1950’s? An on-demand encyclopedia at your fingertips. Are you satisfied with your level of physical strength? No way. I peaked a few years ago in my early thirties. Now we have a two-year-old which seems to keep me from a regular schedule at the gym. Describe a cheap thrill. Driving an old mountain road I’ve never been on. You get excited about what might be around the next corner. Pick a historic moment from the last hundred years to bring a camera to. I would have liked to have seen the eruption of Mount St. Helens. We have a photo of the blast in our hallway and it’s really one of my favorites. Are impulses more important than consequences? Generally, I sway towards impulses when involving art making and photo sequencing. I try to remember consequences when I’m out alone in nature. Which talent would you most like to have? I’ve always wished I could juggle. I try to teach myself occasionally but I can’t pick it up. What is your plan for the next 24 hours? Trying to tie up some loose ends. Heading out on a two week trip in three days.

Red Orange

The nature of the road trip has been documented by generations of photographers of place. Aware of this, my approach to the genre is a contemporary application traversing a seemingly desolate state examining isolation on and off the road. Creating a disconcerting, indescribable subject matter, Red Orange interweaves landscape and still-life while redefining portraiture thus creating a new, road trip documentation.

I began to reevaluate the traditional American landscape photography through the use of gels and filters. As the project expands over time, I look to fully utilize time on the road. Supplies are picked up at various grocery, thrift and dollar stores while passing through small towns. These items later utilized as tabletop motel still-life’s or personal interventions within the nature I’m examining. Gels and strobes became a secondary tool challenging the notion that straightforward photography tilts towards documentary. This application allows for an addition to the unnatural state I’m building.

There’s a rudimentary structure to the photographer while traveling – wake-up before dawn, drive until night and motel. Beyond this, the road offers very little structure. For each intersection arrived at one can choose another route. This structureless concept mimics the edit of Red Orange. The relationship of imagery lies in an almost dream-like state ever so ofter coming up for air revealing a new region in the narrative. This can lead to frustration at times, as can life on the road.

Delaney Allen is an American photographer whose work investigates self-exploration while surveying and masking varying objectives within photography. Employing the use of self-portraiture, still-life and landscape, Allen constructs an individualized path as the collections intersect in storytelling. He has been exhibited and published nationally and internationally including Foam (Amsterdam) and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. He was chosen as one of Time Magazine’s “51 Instagram Photographers To Follow” for 2016, awarded as a Flash Forward Emerging Photographer by the Magenta Foundation in 2013 and was chosen to attend Alec Soth’s Camp For Socially Awkward Storytellers in the same year. His first publication, Between Here And There, was awarded “Best Books Of 2010” by Photo-Eye Magazine. He holds a BFA in media arts from the University of Texas – Arlington (’03) and an MFA in visual studies from Pacific Northwest College of Art (’10). He currently resides on the west coast.

Red Orange is published by Jane and Jeremy (UK) and available to purchase now at — jane-jeremy.co.uk

To see more of Delaney Allen’s work visit — Website / Instagram.