People & Plants: Devin Allen

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For our second People & Plants post, we are beyond excited to feature local photographer, Devin Allen. Devin’s work is inspirational. His photography has captured the attention of people around the world. His images of the Baltimore uprising landed him the cover of Time Magazine in 2015, and since then he’s continued to make a positive impact, especially by empowering underserved city youth to express themselves through photography. These aren’t just people and plants- these people are Baltimore. When you spend time in this city, you understand how strong the sense of community is here. We lift each other up, we join together to make our voices heard, and we place intrinsic value in each other’s pursuits. We believe in affecting positive change, and our city reflects that. Devin’s work is a testament to this. In a busy, unpredictable, and chaotic world, Devin Allen reminds us how to find peace and restoration through simple practices, like plant care.

Walking into Devin’s apartment, I immediately acknowledged a feeling of calm. Not just through his house plants, but through him. He exudes tranquility and grace. I love talking to people about their relationship to nature and house plants, because everyone has something special to share. We are part of the natural world, and each of us has the capacity to relate to that and qualify that through our own unique experience. 

In his words: 

“My mom gave me a piece of Aloe vera, my first plant. I grew up with plants, but never paid much attention to them until I became an adult. It became a part of me, just like how art is to me. It’s good for my spirit, also. Through learning how to meditate, plants came right along with it. It’s part of my spirit.

The more plants I have, the air quality is better... I sleep better, I’m way more peaceful. You can feel them. Plants react if my energy is off. They can feel it. If I’m in a negative space- depressed, bad anxiety...they can feel it. They’re like my babies. They’re alive. They feel. Always touch them, caress them. They’re an extension of me at this point. Some plants came from friends or my mom. They make my life better. You watch them grow and learn their personalities. They might be the same plant but they have their own personality.

I’m real big on meditation. Anything you can do mindfully is a form of meditation- when you can put your mind, body and soul into one place. Taking care of plants is part of my meditation, my regiment in the morning. My mind is focusing on my plants. My mind is focused on one thing, making sure my plants are fine. When I don’t do it, I struggle throughout the day.”

Thank you to Devin for inviting us into your home, for sharing your thoughts, and for giving us another reason to be proud of Baltimore. Lastly, a big thank you to Micah E. Wood for photographing!