Getting To A Place Where There Are No Answers - Allen Dutton

February 27, 2019


Allen Dutton was a renowned photographer and artist. Dutton was born in Kingman, AZ. He served four years in the British and American Armies in North Africa and the Middle East during WWII. After he returned to Arizona in 1946, Dutton attended Arizona State University, receiving a master’s degree in history with a minor in art.

Renowned PC Faculty Member

A natural-born teacher, Dutton taught history and art at North High School, and developed a special interest in photography. He started teaching at Phoenix College in 1960, where he later served as department chair. Allen loved teaching and his classes were in high demand. He treasured life-long friendships with many of his former students.


“Getting to a place where there are no answers” was Dutton’s educational philosophy.[1] The best educators know that learning flourishes when students drive the process, test original theories, reveal unknown truths, and precipitate new ideas. Learning cannot have all the answers if we want new answers to be discovered, or in the case of art, new imagistic ideas to be created. Dutton transported students to places without answers.


In his pioneering tenure at Phoenix College, Dutton curated a collection of photographs by masters of the medium such as Brett and Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, and Minor White. His exhibitions gained national recognition and he exposed a generation of students to the works of these master photographers. Few college campuses were teaching photography in the 1960s, and Dutton quickly created a photography program considered one of the finest in the western United States. He retired from teaching in 1982.

Body of Work

Dutton photographed every community in Arizona, and The Arizona Historical Society houses an archive of more than 25,000 of his photographs. He was also an accomplished painter, depicting the lives of wranglers on the legendary Rocking AD Ranch. Dutton’s work is exhibited worldwide in numerous public collections, including the Center for Creative Photography, Yale University Art Gallery, The Museum of Modern Art, Bibliotheque Nacionale in Paris, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC. His published photographic books include Arizona Then and Now, Phoenix Then and Now, Strange But True: The Arizona Photographs of Allen Dutton, and Real to Surreal. In his later years, Dutton was a prolific writer of novels and poetry. Mr. Dutton passed away in December, 2017.


In 2010, the Allen A. Dutton Center for Photography, a suite of labs and classroom space at Phoenix College, was dedicated to Dutton in recognition for his lasting contributions to the College and the photography program. Dutton’s legacy is memorialized through the Allen Dutton Memorial Scholarship for PC students, supporting the next generation of great American artists. If you would like to learn more about the scholarship, visit If you would like to make a gift supporting the Allen Dutton Memorial Scholarship, visit

Opening Reception & Exhibition

A photographic exhibition of Allen Dutton's Work entitled, "Getting To a Place Where There are No Answers", will be on display in the Eric Fischl Gallery at Phoenix College from March 18 to April 4, 2019. The exhibition features works selected from four of Dutton's well-known bodies of work. Signed pieces in the exhibition are for sale with proceeds benefiting the Allen Dutton Memorial Scholarship.


Alumni, Students, and the Community are invited to the opening reception on March 18, 2019 from 5:30 - 8:00 pm. 


Getting To A Place Where There Are No Answers
A Photographic Exhibition of Allen Dutton's Work

March 18, 5:30 - 8 PM
Phoenix College - Eric Fischl Gallery
1202 W. Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013, ART Building



[1] The Many Lives of Allen Dutton, interview with Rebecca A. Senf. In Real to Surreal: My Twentieth Century Sixty-Five Year Odyssey in Photography. VIII

About Phoenix College

Phoenix College is one of the 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation. Phoenix College offers academic courses leading to associate degrees, university transfer, certificates and short-term job training to more than 11,000 students annually.