Locally Grown: Carina Allen


 Locally Grown is an ongoing series focusing on artists who practice their art form in Boston and how they interact with and make the most of the city as well as discuss where the city can improve artistically. 

Name: Carina Allen


Age: 20 (counting down the months till 21)


How do you describe what you do?
I am a senior at Emerson College studying a custom major of “Visual Media Production and Magazine Publishing,” but I am very close to graduating, so I am trying to start describing myself outside of just being a student. So I would say that I am a fashion and art photographer and a lover of magazines. 

When did you first get into photography?
I started photographing when I sold 1200+ boxes of Girl Scout cookies with the help of my mom and received a point and shoot camera as an incentive. Shortly after, I started taking embarrassing 365 self portraits on my dad’s DSLR, and the rest is history! 


What would your ideal shoot be?
My ideal shoot would be meeting up with people I’ve never met before, getting along swimmingly, spending an afternoon shooting in a large field or lush forest, and then ending the day with some indian food or something like that.


How do you find inspiration?
I look to lots of European fashion magazines for inspiration, to the works of Jeurgen Teller and Francesca Woodman, and Pinterest. I also get a lot of my inspiration directly from the clothing I’m going to be shooting. The photos should echo the vibe of the clothes.


What vibe would you say your photos give off?
Hopefully words that come to mind might be dreamy, bright, alien, and authentic.

Do you mainly practice photography in Boston?
Yes, since most of the year I am here. Sometimes I travel home to NY for shoots, and recently I’ve also been taking the train to Rhode Island and shooting with some RISD students. This summer I was working in London for a month and I squeezed in one shoot while I was there.

Do you think the art scene here is supportive of photographers?
I think that the student/young people art scene here is supportive of photography, but I see a lot more street style and portraiture work more than I see fashion. The older art scene here I think is where it starts to lose variety. There’s really no high fashion culture here or anything like that, the magazines around here are targeted at older audiences and are very generalized. Boston has the highest rate of students leaving immediately after graduating, but it’s no surprise. No one stays around because the art culture low key sucks, but it’s really not going to get better if some people don’t stick around and make some cool shit happen. 


What would your dream exhibition of your work look like?  
Dream exhibition of my work would be in the Foam Museum in Amsterdam or in the Photographers Gallery in London, with huge square prints. Also lots of plants around and lots of sparkling drinks.


What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten? 
Probably to “take the clothes off of my models.” Starting nude photography really set me off in the direction I needed to go in order to find my style, medium, and composition. Once I found that I was definitely a medium format person and that the square frame was the most appealing to me, I was able to transition back into fashion photography, which is what I really wanted to do. Once I figured out the basis of what I considered to be a strong and appealing photo, I could go back and put clothes back on the models.



What's your favorite place to eat in Boston? 
Geez you really got me with this one. I have so many. If I’m keeping it cheap, Windsor Cafe in China Town (get the steamed pork dumplings- they are like eating a cloud). But if I’m ballin out, Beat Brasserie in Cambridge.

Any upcoming projects?

I just started a class where we design and work on our own magazine all semester, so I am hoping to use it to keep myself shooting and maybe writing as well. Not sure what direction I want to go in yet, but ask me again in a week.


all work by carina allen
interview by sienna kwami
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