The amateur photographer whose iconic image from Baltimore's protests was chosen as Time magazine's latest cover said he has mixed emotions about the accolades he's received.
"This is a tragedy. It’s sad that I’m getting recognition off this," said Baltimore photographer Devin Allen, 26.
Before Time picked up one of his photos, his images on Instagram had gone viral and were noticed by Ice Cube, Beyonce and Rihanna, among others.
"My goal was always to make history and I never thought it would come until I was 40 years old," he told NBC Owned Stations. "I’m just a regular guy from Baltimore city who loves the city with a passion."
Allen took to the streets at the start of the Baltimore protests that followed Freddie Gray's death, he said.
Gray was arrested by Baltimore police on April 12 and died a week later from spinal cord injuries he suffered while under police custody. Baltimore police completed an investigation and the state's attorney's office is now tasked with determining whether charges are warranted in Gray's death. The Justice Department is conducting its own investigation, NBC News reported.
Allen's iconic image featured on Time's May 11 cover was shot on April 25 -- two days before the riots that followed Gray's funeral. Allen's Fugi mirror camera captured police as they advanced up Pratt Street in response to rioting and destruction of police property, he said.
The cover photograph shows a masked man running in front of dozens of police officers carrying batons. The magazine's text crosses out the date 1968 to read "America, 2015," in a reference to riots in Baltimore that followed Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination.
When Allen found out that his photo was selected for Time's cover, he said he was at work and began to cry.
His clients who have intellectual disabilities looked at him and wondered what was wrong.
“I was so happy but I’m stressed," he said. "It’s a lot of mixed emotions."
Most of Allen's images posted to his Instagram account are black and white and depict his hometown grappling with Gray's death and the oppression the community face, as he explained in his Instagram and Twittter posts.
In one Instagram post that captures two men singing, Allen wrote: They say singing will heal the heart so brother sing on ::: #welovebaltimore #RIPFREDDIEGRAY ::: #DVNLLN