Timothy Allen was born in Tonbridge, Kent, the second son of two school teachers. He attended The Judd School and took further education at Leeds University where he received a BSc in Zoology. Whilst at university, Allen undertook a three month ecological research project in remote jungle on the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi during which an encounter with a reclusive forest dwelling tribe proved to be a pivotal point in his life. Subsequently, after graduating from university he returned to Indonesia where he spent a further 3 years traveling and studying. It was during this time that he discovered his passion for photography. At the age of 27 he began a part time diploma in photography in Hereford and for his first year project he joined an aid convoy to Mostar during the town's struggle to rebuild itself after the Yugoslav Wars.
After returning from Bosnia, Allen was offered his first job as a freelance photographer working at the Sunday Telegraph in London. A year later, after commissions from all of the British broadsheet publications, he eventually settled into a six year position at The Independent.
A member of Axiom Photographic Agency from 2002 to 2011 his more recent work has revolved around indigenous peoples. It was a personal project in Bhutan, India and Nepal designed to escape the "rat race back home" that lead the BBC to commission him as part of the Human Planet team. In 2012 Allen signed with the International film production company Great Guns who currently represent him worldwide.
In 2008, the BBC commissioned Allen to work on the documentary project Human Planet. This was the first time that the BBC had employed a dedicated photographer on a landmark series. He spent over a year and a half travelling with 4 teams, covering stories of human endeavour in over forty countries around the world. Using the newly released first generation of DSLR cameras with HD video capabilities, Allen shot content for the programme and its accompanying multimedia projects as well as imagery that was published in a best-selling BBC book, formed an exhibition and was used in the program's worldwide branding and publicity.
- Arts Photographer of the Year
- Press Photographer's Year Award
- Three times runner up in Travel Photographer of the Year
- BBC News audio slideshow conversation with Timothy Allen
- Interview on NBC's Carson Daly Show
- Interview on Russia Today's Spotlight show
- BBC Radio 4 'From Our Own Correspondent' despatch from Timothy Allen
- BBC 1 interview with Timothy Allen (UK only)
- Independent on Sunday: Interview with Timothy Allen
- The Press Photographers’ Year Awards
- Debrett's People of Today, Timothy Allen Biography (2009 Print Edition)
- Leeds Alumni Magazine. Issue 09
- About Timothy Allen
- The blog may be found here (bbcearth.com).
- "Picture Perfect: Prestigious award for Independent photographer Tim". The Independent (London), 28 May 2002. At findarticles.com; accessed 9 April 2009.