about

Timothy Allen

. . .

In the third person:

Timothy Allen was born in Tonbridge in the South East of England in 1971.  At 22, after graduating from Leeds University with a BSc Zoology he left the UK and spent 3 years traveling through Indonesia which was the catalyst that sparked his passion for photography. In the nineties, after beginning a part-time diploma in photography, Timothy joined an aid convoy to Bosnia in order to shoot his first year reportage project.  Six months later he left college, moved to London and began working for the Sunday Telegraph, later inspiring commissions from all the British broadsheet publications and finally, a 6 year position at The Independent working predominantly on features and portraits.  Timothy joined Axiom Photographic Agency in 2002 leading him to cover a dynamic and broad spectrum of global stories with subjects ranging from the civil war in the remote Spice Islands of far eastern Indonesia, to the intriguing subculture of The World Taxidermy Championships in Springfield , Illinois.

Beginning in 2009 the BBC commissioned Timothy to work on the landmark series Human Planet. For two years he was in charge of the production’s photography at a time when the first DSLRs were beginning to adopt HD film capabilities and consequently for the first time his job included shooting film footage and multimedia content as well as the conventional photographic stills destined for use in the programme’s worldwide publicity, a best selling book and a touring photographic exhibition. The weekly blog he wrote documenting his experiences during that incredible project can be found here.

In recent years the focus of his work has continued to move in the direction of DSLR cinematography and multimedia production taking him to every corner of the globe, from 19 000 ft up in the Himalayas to 40 metres beneath the South China Sea as well as projects within communities in the Arctic, tropical rain forests and remote desert locations.

Timothy is a regular commentator on TV and radio in the field of media and travel/exploration and he is an experienced public speaker having undertaken inspirational lecture tours for the likes of the Royal Geographical Society as well as giving keynote presentations at conferences and corporate events around the world.  He also runs a small number of very popular workshops in his home country of Wales for photographers and filmmakers who desire the opportunity to work and learn alongside him.

Commendations include:  6 Picture Editors Guild Awards, 2 British Press Awards nominations as Photographer of the Year, a Press Photographer’s Year Award and 13 Travel Photographer of the Year commendations including the overall title in 2013. ‘Human Planet’ has received a host of awards including 2 BAFTAs, an Emmy and the ITB Cultural Book Prize.

Timothy is represented globally by Great Guns.

In the first person:

“Better known for my photographs of far away places I am also a director of short films for NGO’s and media organisations. I began work in London’s Fleet Street… Guardian, Telegraph and Times before settling down at The Independent for 6 years.  After leaving the world of photojournalism I slipped into a life on the road shooting images of the most interesting things I could find on the planet.  My passion has always been indigenous cultures, sparked by a life-changing encounter I had with an un-contacted  community whilst on an ecological research project in 1991.  Nowadays I love visiting remote locations and the exceptional people who inhabit them.

Please don’t mistake me for a documentarian in the traditional sense.  That, I am certainly not.  My photographs are often very subjective and I enjoy viewing the world through overly romantic eyes.  Similarly, my intention is not to document disappearing cultures for the sake of future generations.  That is a concept I’ve never felt comfortable with.  As far as I can tell, the main motivation behind my work is just a simple desire to understand myself and the relationships I have with other people. It’s a very personal journey of discovery that fortunately allows me to make a living and have immense fun in the process.   If my photos inspire you to do the same then that’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned.  It is my belief that our individual journeys offer us all the chance to become better people.

When ever I get the chance I travel as a backpacker and I always turn off my mobile phone while I’m away.  I am a traveler from the pre-internet generation of Poste Restante and word-of mouth so I’m always looking for that kind of experience in my 21st century journeys. I try not to get cynical about the contemporary world but forgive me if my years get the better of me every now and then. Amongst many other things, I love the outdoors, gardening and especially my adoptive country Wales where I live with my family on a quiet hill near Hay on Wye.”

Selected resources

BBC News audio slideshow interview (video)

RT Spotlight Interview (video)

Spotlight interview on NBC’s Carson Daly Show (video)

Daily Telegraph Interview

Independent on Sunday interview

BBC Radio 4 ‘From Our Own Corespondent’ despatch from India (audio)

Adobe Creative Week, live panel discussion (video)

BBC 1 interview (video)

University of Leeds Alumni interview

YPA advice video interviews (video)

Wanderlust Magazine interview (audio)

Timothy’s BBC Earth Blog