Ken Allan, one of organizers of The San Francisco Bay Area Press Photographers Association, died in 1997. He was one of the first presidents of the association, which began in 1957. His son, Mark Allen, is a well-known video photographer. Both father and son are the only father/son presidents of SFBAPPA. In the 70s, he suggested a contest award named for his friend, Ken McLaughlin, and contributed the first check for the perpetual trophies. The Ken McLaughlin award are for the Still and Video Photographer of the Year.
Ken Allan grew up in the film business. He left school in the sixth grade to act in one-reel comedies for his director uncle, Al Christie. In time, and after a move to Hollywood, he settled behind the camera and was one of the first members of the camera union, the IATSE. WWII saw him take a job as head of all photography at North American Aviation in Downey, CA. Following the war he directed industrial films and worked as a freelancer for the newsreels. In 1953 he became bureau chief for Movietone in San Francisco and continued in that position until the newsreel folded in 1967. He once again freelanced, this time for the networks and for UPITN and created a production company with longtime KRON chief cameraman Charlie Stanyan. He continued to oversee Essanay Productions until his death in 1997.