Eldred Allen is a photographer from Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, NL, who uses handheld cameras, drones and 3D modelling. A determination to record the land around him is at the driving core of Allen’s artistic practice. To that end, he uses photospheres and orthomosaics to immerse viewers in vast swaths of landscape. He is one of the few Inuit artists working in the medium, which requires so much bandwidth to upload that he often is unable to get his footage out into the world.
When he started his drone business, Bird’s Eye Inc., in 2016, Allen began using handheld cameras as a way to supplement his drone footage and offer an additional service to clients (1). After applying for and receiving a 360° handheld camera through Google’s Indigenous Mapping program, he began capturing photospheres with the intent of putting emphasis back on everyday phenomena that otherwise goes overlooked (2).
Allen’s work gained national and international attention when he posted a photo series of a grumpus (minke) whale feeding off the Rigolet wharf on his social media accounts. In the most prominent photo, an onlooker on the wharf jumps back from the whale’s spray, showing how close the grumpus has come to feed. The whale’s pink underbelly is a vibrant flash juxtaposed against the gray sky and water, while the orange and green hull of another assiduous hunter, a fishing boat, crouches in the background. Allen’s photo series illustrates the close, but sometimes hidden connections of the Rigolet food chain.
Armed with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the Memorial University of Newfoundland and an Advanced Diploma in Geographic Information Science and Cartography from the Centre of Geographic Sciences (3), Allen worked for the Nunatsiavut government for years before beginning Bird’s Eye Inc. Since then, his work has been sought after by national parks, archeological surveyors and public buildings. He has participated in four of Google’s Indigenous Mapping Workshops, and completed a complete map of the Rigolet boardwalk as part of the Google Maps project (4). In 2019 Allen's work was included in the exhibition Our Beautiful Land at La Guilde in Montreal, QC, (5) and in the online exhibition Looking Down from Up organized by Gallery 44 in Toronto, ON.
2000: Bachelor of Arts – Anthropology, Memorial University of Newfoundland
2011: Advanced Diploma – Geographic Information Science and Cartography, NSCC-COGS
2016: RPAS Training Certificate, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Operator