Marguerite I. Fuller "Hard Hat"
gelatin silver print
medium format film printed on fiber paper
15" x 18"
"My approach to photography is about observation and cultivation. This image was taken near where my husband works, on a residential street full of beautiful old homes overlooking the Susquehanna River. I have driven here many times, and decided to get out and walk. My focus was on the blooming apple trees lining the street, but the activity of the day dictated what caught my lens -- the maintenance required for Internet service, perhaps a bid to make this old house desirable for modern living. I imagined this was a nice place for the man in the 'Hard Hat' to be working, if he had a moment to stop and see the apple blossom petals swirling all around."
In the summer of 2010, I was the Photography Department Assistant under Andy Schmitt. I was very moved by the range of people I met working in this medium, from all ages and walks of life. It was like speaking a universal language and being understood for the first time! I worked side by side with professionals and students alike, as we all tried new techniques and shared ideas as equals. I think this is the magic of Peters Valley; it is a place where you find “your people” at just the right time in life.
Part of what I learned is that a lot of art-making is trial and error, and it is worth making mistake after mistake, if necessary. I saw the visiting artists make mistakes and self-correct in creative and thoughtful ways. This was enlightening, as it can be tempting to find a comfort zone and stay there. But I think being at Peters Valley allowed the professionals to loosen up, as well, and I got to see them as people. We all valued each other as individuals with something to contribute, and listened and learned because of it. As a photographer, I am naturally an observer. And in the role of Assistant, there to facilitate the learning of all class members, I became even more aware of how differently people learn, and how they reveal themselves in their own time...
Peters Valley helped me to see that people are happy when they are making art and doing something they love. I plan to continue the pursuit of my passions, and make many mistakes doing so.Marguerite I. Fuller, Madison Township, PA
Marguerite I. Fuller is an artist and educator who lives in Madison Township, Pennsylvania. She has worked in many creative fields, including teaching darkroom photography at the college level and running a university art gallery. Fuller is currently focused on her passion for local farms and food, and works for an organic vegetable and flower farm in NEPA. She and her husband recently moved to their own 100-acre plot, where they are raising chickens and growing vegetables, and have plans to add ducks and honeybees. Being outside in nature during all four ever-changing seasons inspires the photography of Fuller, as does the basic human interaction with nature. She believes that a delicate balance can be struck between nature and human existence/disturbance, and works to reveal this while tipping the scales towards stability.
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