Ghosts of West Baltimore: Devin Allen’s Instagram
Devin Allen’s photography began at home: Baltimore, Maryland. In this chapter, I retain the argument that uncanniness is a disturbance of home but now add to this the notion of uncanniness as an element of the uncalled-for: something that is impolite, improper, invasive, and that exists outside morality of communality. This shift brings an ethical valence to the concept that is necessary for a reading of Allen’s explicitly activist work. It is not enough to see uncanny home in Allen’s photographs. We must also see the ethical and political point he is making: that police and other members of Baltimore’s supervisory community have behaved in improper and uncalled-for ways in Allen’s neighborhood. Moreover, the social and economic structure of the social world of this city at the edge of the southeastern United States is biased and unjust in improper and uncalled for ways, and these cause suffering for African Americans in their home place.