thomas allen photography – pulp fascination

posted by the scholar on July 6th, 2007
filed under: artists, photography

update: the aperture foundation will be releasing uncovered, a published book of photographs from thomas, on september 1st! 

minnesota artist tom allen’s photographs are inspired by his childhood experiences with pop-up books and viewmaster reels. he cuts two-dimensional figures and images out of old books, and combines them with vintage pulp fiction novels, to create three-dimensional scenes.


once he’s formed the three-dimensional art objects, thomas reinvents them again as two-dimensional ones in his lively photographs.


allen carefully directs these paper cut-out “actors” to exude humor, pathos and passion in a suspended moment of time.


his work is vividly imaginative, nostalgic, and dramatic.


thomas’ work has been exhibited from coast to coast. see a broad selection of it at the foley gallery.

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8 Responses to “thomas allen photography – pulp fascination”

  1. technabob Says:

    wow, these are pretty amazing. i really love “the slap.”

  2. the scholar Says:

    yes, that one is called “fury” and it is great. i love all of them — seriously click on the link to see his other photos.

  3. Thomas Allen Says:

    for your kind review of my work. I still find it hard to believe that my book comes out tomorrow! Love your blog and found myself both disturbed and drooling at your husband’s amazing Vegas Graveyard photographs. You’ve finally given me a reason to go there!

    Have a wonderful weekend,

    Humbly yours,
    Tom Allen

  4. the scholar Says:

    hi tom,

    thank you for the visit — and you are most welcome for the post! i am nutty cuckoo about your work, and (literally) have a list of people i am planning to give your book to as a gift, after the release…

    thanks also for the kind words about the neon graveyard photos — we think they turned out much better than we thought they would!

    have a good time this weekend! gigi

  5. Lynn Maguire Says:

    This is the first of many sites I plan on visiting to voice my distress over the absence of any credit to the original artists of those wonderful paperbacks that Tom Allen used for his photographs.. was it ignorance and lack of curiousity? I would prefer to believe this than believe that he just didn’t care… My father’s art is used extensively in his book and there is no credit to be found. A simple credit or kind word about Robert Maguire and the other artists seems to be the least he can do since this is the basis for his “art”..Lynn Maguire

  6. the scholar Says:

    hi lynn,

    i can’t really speak to this issue that you are having about giving credit. perhaps there is a possibility that the artist’s cover credit was not printed in the books that tom selected for his photos?

    i am uncertain if books that were published during that period of time are widely available now, so perhaps also you can take pride in knowing that those who enjoy tom’s work currently, also enjoy the art that your father made decades ago. and that’s a good thing.

    thanks for the visit!

  7. Lynn Maguire Says:

    I appreciate your point of view, but if he is such a fan, as it says, then it takes very little research to find out who did the cover art. Some signatures were, in fact, deleted by the publisher. But any true fan would know the work of Maguire, McGinnis, Saunders.. Even a general credit and encouragement that the readers learn about these artists would show he is a true fan. I don’t want to make this about my site, but check it out if you want to add to your roadside experiences!L.M.

  8. Anne Warren Says:

    I also love the drama in your work. I tried to photocopy images from books, went to the trouble of using beautiful watercolour paper and yet it is not the same as the original. There is an element of chance that is lost in photocopying. At one time I walked around for weeks with a fantastic cutout of a donkey in my pocket. I just waited for the right setting for him. I think you will understand this.

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