David Allee

David S. Allee (born 1969) is an American photographer.

Allee received an undergraduate degree in economics and government from Cornell University in 1991, and his MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts (2001), where he studied with Joel Sternfeld and Robert Polidori. Allee came to photography after a career in the field of urban and environmental planning.


Allee’s 1997 photographic series, “A Man a Mile,” documents the New York CitySandhog.” Sandhogs are builder/miners responsible for the Panama Canal, and much of New York City's infrastructure. Their excavation projects are some of the largest ever undertaken; they include the city's water tunnels (which take over fifty years to complete), much of the New York City Subway System, and the caissons (underwater foundations) for the city's bridges. The society of Sandhogs is largely made up of a patrilineal line—and only a few hundred families. The job is statistically the most dangerous father-to-son profession in the United States. Approximately one sandhog dies for every mile of tunnel they deliver. A selection of Allee's "A Man a Mile" was published in the October 1997 issue of Esquire. Accompanying text was provided by former Sandhog and novelist, Thomas Kelly.

More recent shows have furthered an investigation of public space as it barriers the individual: “Turnpike Condos” (06) iterates the meeting of freeways and housing developments; “Cross Lands” (06) addresses a contemporary landscape of garages, housing, parks, commercial properties—all adjacent and at cross purposes. Allee’s work, likewise, traverses divisions of fine arts, political activism, photojournalism and contemporary cartography. In a moment of the dying landscape, Allee dissects and catalogues the winsome flower of decay. In 2005, Allee worked with New York City’s Center for Architecture in documenting the Percent for Art program.

External links

"Nelson Atkins Museum" for the New Yorker

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