I was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, a place I called home until December of 2002. I am a photographer currently living in East Flatbush, Brooklyn; it was here that I cultivated a love for street photography, and for capturing the poetic moments of the city in black and white. Through my lens I seek to restore a very human substance to photography by isolating the subject, and by inviting the audience to follow a story without the distraction of color.
My hope is to implore the humanity of the subjects, not their aesthetic; by creating a non-verbal dialogue with viewers, I suggest that it's not necessarily about the subjects themselves, but rather about the conditions in which they exist. My themes tend to consist of laughter, sadness, couples kissing, and nuanced moments loaded with emotion—all of which are rooted in love, because without love there would be no emotion, for even pain comes from love.
The overall goal in my work is to capture photos do not require captions but rather carry their respective stories within their details. Photography tends to be centered around being avant-garde, and in looking towards the future a lot of photographers miss the moments I hope to capture today—because tomorrow will be filled with its own unique chances. I aim to find the perfect balance between having an unlimited scope while giving agency and preference to those whose stories are rarely told, whose lives are solemnly immortalized.
On behalf of the Kingsborough Art Museum, I welcome you to the digital exhibition version of our exhibition Love in the Streets: Photographs by Allen Pierre. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Allen Pierre came to the United States in 2002, where he would later attend Kingsborough Community College and Brooklyn College. He is primarily a street photographer, although much of his work cannot be tautly tethered to that somewhat limited term. While street photographers are generally perceived as urban flâneurs, or strolling recorders of modern life, Pierre often interacts with his subjects, relaxing them in a manner that allows their true inner and outer beauty to reveal itself before his lens.
By photographing many of his subjects against the open sky, Pierre creates street portraiture, elevating the standard parameters of the genre. While captured spontaneously at Brooklyn festivals such as Afropunk and Photoville, his photographs paradoxically exude an idealized glamour, a stylish nobility one might expect from more formal studio portraits.
In other photographs, we see the streets of Brooklyn, Harlem, and Midtown Manhattan through the photographer’s nuanced, poetic vision, a sympathetic unveiling of the little details, the momentary dramas, that many New Yorkers briskly stride by without a nanosecond of thought. While his work is certainly aesthetically powerful, it also evokes that most human of emotions, empathy—compelling us to identify with, and to imagine narratives about, his subjects and the situations in which they find themselves. This exhibition—his first—truly is about the joy, dignity, strength, and love that Pierre sees every day in the faces and lives of those he meets.
Free of cynicism, Allen Pierre’s photographs convey the love he feels for his city and for those within it. Revealing the wonder of existence and the deepest truths nestled within the simplest moments, Pierre strives towards that highest aspiration of art: to evoke within us the ineffable beauty of being. As you make your way through the exhibition, it becomes clear that these are our neighbors, our neighborhoods, and that the beauty he records surrounds us all, daily.
It is our great pleasure to share his photographs with you. To see Allen's recent work, follow his Instagram account.
Brian E. Hack, Ph.D.
Kingsborough Art Museum
Note: All photographs copyright 2012-2019 Allen Pierre. All rights reserved; no use of these images without the expressed written consent of the artist.
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