Thomas Allen (1969 - )
Thomas Allen's distinctive work, which has garnered widespread attention, is regularly exhibited and featured. His monograph Uncovered was published by Aperture in 2007. He lives in Michigan with his wife and kids.
When asked about the way he works he says:
"My subjects are the characters found on the covers of vintage paperbacks whose range of emotions and expressions are altered with a few strokes of an X-acto knife. The act of cutting and folding transforms these flat figures into life-like, multi-dimensional, pop-up book characters. Each book is gently positioned according to what is projected through the lens. If necessary, pins are used to invisibly hold the pieces in place since the slightest movement, in any direction, would reveal (and ruin) the trick. Lighting and composition are just as important. They set the (often times humorous) mood of the story being captured. A shallow focus completes the illusion and magnifies the sense of seeing in 3-D. The process can sometimes take hours to complete, but it's all part of why I choose to make photographs and well worth the effort."
When asked whether he digitally manipulates his photographs, Allen writes:
"No! For me, it's almost a moral issue. I want to be able to tell people that the photos represent exactly what I saw through the lens when I took the picture. The complete illusion is more like a magic trick than anything else—pulled off with props and by fooling the eye. It just wouldn't be the same if I did all that on the computer—there's no challenge in that. For me, the art is as much about the process of creation as the end result. It's all connected."