Inspired by a View-Master and “pop-up” books as a child, Allen became interested in recreating these three-dimensional experiences by using old books and pulp fiction paperbacks as still life subjects. Allen gently cuts around the shape of his figures, physically releasing them from their two dimensional surface. They are brought to life from their pages and covers with detailed lighting and a thin focus. Pulled and positioned, their intended drama comes to life.
In his newest body of work, Allen explores more detailed narratives involving love triangles and relationships accentuated with moments of voyeurism, homoeroticism, and unrequited love. The book set-ups are more complex and more naughty than previously presented. Multiple books act as separate characters interacting with each other to form relationships and stories about love and lust. In Wish, a demure and uncertain teenage girl appears in the foreground, displaying an expression of longing. Behind her, slightly out of focus, is an older couple entangled in a romantic encounter.
Some of these images deal with more lusty subjects, such as “Jackpot”, whose playful sexuality comes close to the style of the American pin-up paintings of the 1940’s and 50’s. Other images like Distraction deal with lust and longing between men.