courtesy of JON ALLYN
with a child involved in sports knows the excitement,
joy and heroic moments that occur on those playing
fields. When they happen, they’re priceless, but they
often disappear as time diminishes our memories.
“Snapshots end up in a shoebox or maybe
an album, but a portrait lasts a lifetime,” says
Milwaukee-based sports photographer Jon Allyn. He
believes the dedication of these young athletes and
their families warrants recognition, and he says he
focuses on youth sports because the play is “more
organic and much more real; it’s a big influence on how
the kids develop.”
A professional photographer for more than
35 years, Allyn has won several awards, including the
Professional Photographers of America’s Diamond
Photographer of the Year. He is also one of only 115
photographers in the world to have earned a fellowship
from the American Society of Photographers.
In 2010, Allyn found a way to take his
photography to a new level by combining his skills as a
photographer with digital painting. “I can take
photographs, but I can’t paint,” he explains. “When one
of my photographs is put into a computer program, I am
able to alter my sports photographs into stylized
dry-brush paintings. It’s the perfect marriage of
science and art.”
Allyn’s work is unique. “Almost no one
I’ve come across has thought about this kind of work.
They just think in terms of game photos, but not sports
art,” Allyn says. He focuses on providing custom wall
art — often scaled to fit specific spaces in clients’
homes. A key element in Allyn’s work is personalization.
“Clients know they’re buying unique pieces of art
created for them because they can dictate what is in the
portrait,” he adds. For example, Allyn can choose to
downplay distractive background elements by changing
their color or playing up other elements.
He works with a variety of clients, like
Catholic Memorial High School and Homestead High School,
to produce photographs of teams and their families. Part
of Allyn’s marketing strategy involves being active in
booster clubs and charities, where he often donates
pieces of work to generate interest and publicity. “You
have to give something to get something,” he adds.
Looking to the future, Allyn is more
passionate than ever about honoring athletes while
pushing the limits of his own artistic expression and
creating exciting artwork for his clients. “I keep every
door open. If someone has an idea, I’m always open to
something new,” he says.
To learn more and see examples of Allyn’s
work, go to