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New York & Paris: Double Exposures

Peter Filene

Having grown up in New York City, I’ve always had an urban sensibility. Landscapes and sunsets are beautiful, but they don’t excite my aesthetic imagination. No surprise, then, most of my photographs come from cities.  I’m working on two series.
First of all, I make double exposures in the camera  (not in Photoshop or in the darkroom). After shooting the first image, I cock the shutter again without advancing the film. Then I search for an image that will be, if I’m lucky, its perfect mate. I shoot again, but I don’t know the outcome until I return home and see the prints. In other words, I am playing between intention and chance—art and life.
I am also working on a second series: straight photographs of posters peeling off walls. Partly buried faces, words, and patches of color break through the surface, suggesting the rough-and-tumble beauty of city life. I find these posters primarily in Paris. (For some reason, American posters don’t peel).
I’ve lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, since 1967. Until I retired, I taught American history at the University of North Carolina. I’ve also published a novel, Home and Away.

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