Noel Allen | About
Who am I?

About fifteen years ago I was sitting in a bar with a bunch of my male friends, posterior planted firmly on the barstool. Like the others, I was pointedly ignoring the Salsa instructor that was about to teach a class to a large group of my female friends. They on the other hand were standing around shooting dagger stares at their sorta boyfriends, actual boyfriends, and if they didn’t get up right this second and take the class with them, soon to be ex-boyfriends.

A couple of us remained at the bar sipping our margaritas, relaxing in our reprieve or saddened by our solitude as the case may be, watching the antics of the other guys as they suffered through the next forty-five minutes. By the end I’m sure each group was seriously considering the merits of belonging to the other.

As guys headed back to the bar to lick their psychic wounds, I noticed the women wandering around the dance floor in a Brownian motion randomly moving towards or away from people they they might wish to dance with or to avoid. They didn’t bother with us yet, knowing that it would take several drinks for their partners to fight off the post traumatic.

However it only took one song for the motion to converge into a single stream. At the head was the guy whose crazy idea it was to come to this place. Now don’t get me wrong, in the 90’s in San Francisco, especially among the volleyball crowd, margaritas were a drink of choice, so choosing a Latin bar was not a hard sell, but going on Salsa night made no sense.

But there he was, someone I’ve known forever, whom I’ve never seen on a date, all of a sudden having a line of women waiting to dance with him. I promised myself that day, that I would take lessons and learn ballroom.

Now you are probably wondering what that has to do with photography. As it turns out, everything, at least for me. It took a couple years, but I eventually started taking dance lessons. In the process I was privileged to get to know and become friends with a large number of exceptional ballroom dancers (I even married one, so here’s a tip: the lessons thing really works...), and instructors. Turns out that they are a loving if somewhat narcissistic bunch, so I would periodically borrow a friend's camera gear and take shots. This inspired me to get a DSLR for my honeymoon to New Zealand and take more shots. and when we got back I bought some of my own lights and took even more shots. Soon I started shooting other things and other people as well. Like ballroom, the more I played with photography, the more it put me in contact with talented people I really admired, and for a second time, I promised myself I would learn how to really do this too. So after years to shooting, and talking, and sharing, here we are.

I shoot all kinds of stuff, landscape, art, beauty, glamour, etc... I especially love mixing dance and photography, so if you are an experienced dancer and you’d like some shots, let me know. Now if I could just get Nigel Lythgoe to return my calls...