“It’s an older printmaking process, which is the use of a Cyanotype ink and is a different kind of exposure process,” Ray said. “They're just beautiful, it's more like printmaking than photography.”
Filene, a former UNC history professor, produces a similar effect with his medium, creating what he calls “painterly photographs.”
Filene’s primary focus is double-exposure photography, a process that involves taking two photographs on one surface of the film. The outcome is a photograph with two layered images that harmonize with each other, Filene said.
"When it works, it becomes a kind of amazing success, a marriage between what I'm intending and what happens to come out,” Filene said. “But I never know until I get home and develop the film.”
Filene said that the exhibit at FRANK is different from anything he’s done before. He has begun creating photo collage, using ripped up strips of his old photographs as physical material to design unique collages. The inspiration for this project came from being frustrated with his work, Filene said.
“I wasn't going anywhere to take new photographs," Filene said. "I was repeating what I was doing, and I wanted to know how I could make something new. I said, 'Well, why not? Why not try this, at worst it fails, but why not?' And eventually I sort of found myself being creative, for me anyhow.”
Filene said that while the process for creating photo collage is different from his typical double-exposure work, he has found the results to be akin to his usual aesthetic.
“These photo collages are still trying to make painterly photographs, but they're more by hand," Filene said. "I've been putting the pieces together and then photographing the outcome. And I think those go well with Bill's photographs.”
McAllister and Filene are both members of the FRANK gallery collective, which allows the public access to local art and artists. The gallery encourages community interaction with the member artists and promotes an atmosphere of artistic curiosity, Knox said.
“At any given time you can come in here and talk to an artist and get their vantage point of what their inspiration was behind making their piece, their technical skill,” Knox said. “It’s learning something about photography that you didn't know before, learning about what kind of art is in our own community."
Filene said that while he is a photographer, his true profession is teaching. He said it is the educational aspect of FRANK that makes the gallery so important in the Chapel Hill community, and is something that allows his work as an artist to be so fulfilling.
“I taught at Carolina for 40 years, and I can't stop teaching,” Filene said. “It’s a kind of teaching of people who want to learn how to be creative in whatever it is they're doing in their lives, because we're better off for learning that we can do what we hadn't expected we could.”
Filene said he hopes the community can find refuge from an often challenging world through learning in the gallery. He said he believes that spending time with art is a rejuvenating experience.
“If you think back to civilizations like Greece or Italy 600 years ago, most of what we remember of those eras and places is their artwork," Filene said. "We still get some sustenance from what those artists did. The artwork has lasted a lot longer than the politics.”