Frank in the Cassihaus artist apartment washing prints
I've known Frank Hunter since I think around 2000 when I discovered his work in New Mexico which was ironic as he was living in Chapel Hill at the time. He used to teach at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke and is an acknowledged master of the 19th century platinum/palladium photo printing process. I purchased a piece of his in 2002 called Curtain Saul to Paul which was printed on translucent vellum and it took my breath away. I assure you that the jpeg does not do it justice!
When I went to frame it everything I tried just made it look flat. I was looking at it up to the light and it just glowed. I worked with my framer friends at Craven Allen Gallery and they came up with a way to frame it with glass on both sides and we have it sitting in a north facing window in the house and it is stunning.
I lost touch with Frank for awhile until I decided to include him in our Actual Size exhibition. I was stunned all over again at the quality of his work and stunning tonal nuance of his prints. We added a few more of his pieces to our collection. The really telling thing to me about these acquisitions is that we have virtually zero traditional landscapes in our collection. Frank's work seems to transcend that categorization to some sort of pure beauty.
Frank told me when I contacted him about the show that he was no longer printing platinum work as he no longer had a darkroom. I was stunned and thought that was a huge loss. I asked him if I could connect him to darkroom space if he would come to the residency and he agreed. He ended up finding the darkroom space himself and he made some amazing prints while here. When it came time for Frank to give his artist talk I asked him if wanted to do a test run on his PowerPoint presentation and he told me he wasn't going to use a computer or show any of his work except actual prints. Once I got over the initial shock of a photographer giving an artist talk without showing digital images it was a delight to hear him just talk about his philosophy of making work.
The place was packed with photographers. Frank has had many students through his years of teaching.
Thank you Frank for sharing your time and your beautiful work.