Tappan Collective Artist Brandy Eve Allen was raised in New York City and now lives and works in Los Angeles. Allowing her environment to dictate her next move, she re-contextualizes her subjects, mapping relationships that traverse national boundaries and defy time, in which the moment is present for as long as one pays it attention. Using film, light and intuition, Allen draws out and captures the essence of her subject. Allen doesn’t shy away from the violence of this world; rather, she uses it to invoke its opposite, and her photographs are not only fearless and tender, but also generous and authentic. As many qualities as they take on, from elegant to inquisitive to eerie, Allen’s work is always unflinchingly honest. “Beauty,” Allen maintains, “is about transparent sincerity.”
What do you love most about the female figure?
It’s more about what I love about the female rather than the figure. A vulnerable strength through gestures.
When do you make your best work?
When I’m alone or with one other person photographing in the middle of nowhere.
How does Italy make you feel?
Did you have breakfast today?
If breakfast was at 1pm.
Why do you hate portraits of yourself?
I don’t hate portraits of myself if I’m taking them. No one else seems to get me the way I want to see myself except for this little 10-year-old I know. He’s the only one who can take a good photo of me.
What is your favorite thing to photograph?
My favorite thing to photograph is a sincere moment, something spontaneously wonderful.
What is your favorite color?
What is your least favorite sound?
My downstairs neighbor waking up in the morning. He yawns as if he’s dying.
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Well, I can’t eat a ton of dairy but if I eat ice cream, I’m super specific. Like I only eat vanilla bean if it has caramel or caramelized apple slices over it or accompanied by some warm pie. I like chocolate ice cream by itself. I like mint chip ice cream. It really depends, but nothing with nuts.
What is the one thing you wouldn’t eat?
Crab, because I’m allergic. These days I’ll try anything except for horse or something like that. But I’d probably eat that, too, if I didn’t know what it was and it looked good.
What is your biggest demon?
What is your happy place?
Amoeba Records in the vinyl electronic section.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I’m really focused on work and sometimes won’t want to sleep at all if I can continue working on something that I’m into. I’m all over the place when it comes to sleep. There’s no one thing that gets me out of bed. It could be hunger, work, the sunlight. I know there are two things that get me into bed.
What puts you to sleep at night?
The sound of rain.
Where is your ideal life?
Traveling the world with someone I really love.
What do you most admire in a man?
A balance of sweetness and strength.
What do you most admire in a woman?
The same thing.
Who is your favorite artist?
I don’t have a favorite artist. I just like people who are honest and fearless in what they do. Some artists who have inspired me over the years are Francesca Woodman, Sally Mann, Ana Mandieta, Camille Claudel, Anais Nin, Matisse, and Caravaggio.
Why do you make art?
Besides being an outlet for expression, I think it’s given me a sense of identity. I wanna say because I love it, and I do most of the time, but there are a lot of times when I hate it as well—when it hurts me, leaves me unsatisfied or struggling—but it’s all a part of the process.