Thomas Allen – Uncovered and recreations of imaginings…
Around these parts, I have something of a soft spot for work/subculture that reimagines its source material – reinterpreting it to create new narratives.
Along which lines, the work of Thomas Allen in which he takes vintage pulp fiction paperback covers and creates his own one frame films.
Technically, I suppose they could be called dioramas but I use the word film as they do seem like momentary snapshots from imagined films – when I look at them, my mind seems to know that the characters within these scenes have a wider story, that each image is but one cell in a reel.
His work may well help that process by playing with noir, pulp and vintage archetypes, signposting the way towards known and sometimes well-travelled storylines and backstories (in a way that reminds me of the pin-up noir illustrations of Niagra).
There is a dreamlike quality to his work – something that seems to be emphasised by the way it often uses a narrow depth of field. This blurred, part focused manner of presentation seems to engender a sense that these are scenes from some half-sleep, half-remembered, half-awake moment.
There is also a surprising visceralness to the Uncovered work. Although that maybe shouldn’t be all that surprising as his source material comes from a market where books were sold via their salacious covers.
However, his work takes that somewhere else, somewhere that may be a little (or more than a little) darker, leaving the viewer with a sense that these aren’t moments in time that are always comfortable viewing. Noirish in the sense of unredeemable characters and situations as well as in an aesthetic manner.
Preview the book further at the rather fine and resource filled photoeye here.