A recent MFA graduate from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Amy Montali splits her time between Northampton and Boston. This past summer, she was one of 20 Fellows chosen to attend the prestigious Photography Institute National Graduate Seminar at Columbia University. She has been featured in several invitational and juried shows, including the Laconia Lofts Gallery and Film/Photo Gallery at Hampshire College, as well as a solo show at Gallery 120 in Northampton. Montali teaches color and foundation classes at SMFA, and served as assistant to Jim Dow. She also works as a freelance video producer and editor, collaborating with theater and dance groups such as the American Dance Legacy Institute.

Traces of Montali’s undergraduate studies in film and theater as well as her freelance work can be seen in her current project, a series of collaborative large format portrait studies of friends and fellow artists and actors. These mysterious compositions are made using a view camera, yet allude to the snapshot aesthetic in setting and energy. Featured online are several of her newest lushly colored and delicately balanced selections. Overall, they seem mid-action or mid-gesture, as if something just happened or was about to be said. Verging on performance art or free-form art happenings, she aims for narrative ambiguity and open-ended situations—the photograph as receptacle—in the hopes that the viewer will impart his or her own stories and meanings onto the images.

- Leslie K. Brown, PRC Curator

Click here for Montali's CV.


Luke Snyder
September 2004

Matthew Gamber
August 2004

Mariliana Arvelo
July 2004

Ken Richardson

June 2004

Julie Melton

May 2004

Marlo Marrero

April 2004

Erik Gould
March 2004

Mori Insinger
February 2004

Jen Kodis

January 2004

Amber Davis
December 2003

Paul Taggart

November 2003

Marla Sweeney
October 2003

Dylan Vitone
September 2003

Click here for more information
about the Northeast Exposure.


click each image for larger version and caption

For nearly two years I have used a large format view-camera to photograph my friends and fellow artists. This recent work is often collaborative and always improvisational, hovering somewhere between documentary and fiction. The process I use is slow and formal. However, I try to shoot spontaneously as though I am on the street. I want to fuse the seductive power of studio photography with the energy and emotion of a snapshot.

I choreograph scenes of varying complexity in order to explore real and fictitious relationships and to consider such subtexts as desire, guilt, rivalry, and interpersonal disparity. I am also interested in how individuals relate to the camera itself.

Photographing allows me to stare. I watch and wait for sudden rupture on the psychological landscape. Meanwhile I use the colors and shapes of my locations to illuminate and intensify, or invent, psychological states. The narrative is deliberately ambiguous. I expect the viewer to fill in the blanks.

In some ways content is secondary to my obsession with photography itself. I question how photographic resonance differs from that of painting, film, and theater, while borrowing freely from the languages of these media. I also consider how advertising, pop culture, and propaganda use photography to seduce the viewer. I realize I am in constant competition with these for the viewer’s attention. I do aim therefore to seduce.

I also allow myself to be seduced. Left unchecked I fall in love with the images of my subjects. I stare at people and consume them by photographing. Maybe this is problematic, but I grew up molested by movies and TV. The media reached into my visual panties long before I was old enough to make informed decisions. Now I too prowl around in the dark.

- Amy Montali