Allen A. Dutton Photograph Collection
Call No. FP FPC 14
119 linear ft.
Allen Dutton was born in 1922 in Kingman, Arizona. His grandparents were pioneers who came to the Arizona Territory in the late nineteenth century and his family has been here ever since. He attended the local public schools, then journeyed to Tempe and enrolled in the then Arizona State Teachers College where he earned a bachelor’s degree in art.
In 1942, he joined the army, where he served in the third infantry division. After receiving his discharge in 1946, he went on to study painting and sculpture at the Art Center School in Los Angeles and earned a master’s in history with a minor in art from Arizona State University. He held a variety of teaching posts in public schools around the valley, before joining the art department at Phoenix College in 1960. He taught photography courses and later served as head of the department until 1982.
At the age of 62, he took early retirement from Phoenix College to devote himself full time to his art. Dutton embarked on a re-photographic survey project that netted two volumes of before and after comparisons published under the titles of Arizona Then and Now and Phoenix Then and Now. This led to his next project, photographing every street corner in every town in Arizona for the benefit of posterity.
Influenced by the cowboy culture of his youth, Dutton created the fictional Rocking A.D. Ranch in southwestern Yavapai County to breed rhinoceros. He wove tales and gave slide illustrated lectures to audiences about the 34 rhinos he kept on the ranch, all of whom were trained for a specific useful task such as cutting cattle. The realistic photographs and detailed stories caused many, including Senator Barry Goldwater, to wonder if the ranch was a genuine place.
In addition to landscapes and fictitious rhinos Dutton also captures nude camera studies. Using people of every shape, size, and age the subjects are sometimes the focal point or often the nude discreetly concealed within a larger landscape. He also has completed a series of photographs that take a humorous look at retired life in Sun City, Arizona.
Allen Dutton is a master photographer, author, sculptor, social critic, painter, poet, educator and philosopher. He currently resides with his wife Mary Ann in Prescott, Arizona.