‘The Essential Fenton’ An Exhibition by Robert Hershkowitz
for the inspirational Sam Wagstaff (1921-1987)
Previous Fenton scholars have presented his extraordinary, extensive career in terms of chronology and subject. However, the essential Fenton is best unveiled by examining aspects of his work, in both print and image, that are personal and recurring, irrespective of subject and circumstance. The mystery behind some of his most potent images is that they are simultaneously totally accessible, while also being seriously elusive. Though many nineteenth century photographers believed photography could teach the mind to see, Fenton’s images uniquely demonstrate photography could teach us to see the mind.