Ross School - Senior Project 2006-07

Student: Suyan Montanari

Mentor: Alexis Martino

Consultants: John Messinger, John Snow and Walter Ioss

Domain: Media


Title: Alone Together


Taking GoetheŐs 1774 novel The Sorrows of Young Werther as my inspiration, I created a series of images that explore the idea of obsession, love, desire, and uncertainty. In relationships, the emotions involved are always changing and evolving. I was particularly interested in the ways in which relationships both produce and affect our emotions. The images I created narrate the turmoil at the heart of any romantic relationship.


Senior Project Photographs


For my project I created a body of work based on the theme of obsession.  Within the large body of work there aren't small narratives each focusing on different emotions related to obsession. I chose to do photography because I am very passionate it about and enjoy it. I was initially inspired by the novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther that I read in 10th grade. After reading the novel I began to think that the idea of obsession with another person is something that is very common and would be an interesting concept to illustrate through photography.

I began shooting at the end of the summer without clear-cut ideas for the shoots. After two or three shoots I realized that I needed to brainstorm for each of the shoots and have a shot list. This was extremely helpful in telling a story and better illustrating my concept. Some struggles that I found were finding people to photograph, and coordinating with other peopleŐs schedules. A solution I found was to shoot after school at the school. It was very difficult to find people who were comfortable getting their pictures taken, and who I was comfortable with as well and on top of that you never know how someone is going to come off on film. So after shooting around 60 rolls of film I only used people from 6 of the different shoots I went on

Half way through shooting I had switched lenses and Ms. Martino gave me the wrong kind of lens so all of my film didnŐt come out. This was very discouraging because this was my first shoot where I really felt like I got some really good images that related to my theme and really illustrated the ideas I wanted. But somehow 1 out of the 6 rolls of film came out and I used 2 of the images from them.

Another challenge was managing my time. Being in the darkroom is very time consuming and I couldnŐt go home to work on my project so I was constantly at school in the dark room everyday for hours and senior project is not the only thing that was going on at the time. I also had classes and college applications to deal with.

After I was done shooting all of my film I began learning how to fiber print. I went into fiber printing thinking I was going to be really good at it because I love printing on RC and never found it that challenging, but after my first fiber print I wanted to stop doing photography completely and kill myself. I hated the way it came out and it was really hard to get the print to come out perfectly. After going back to fiber printing and doing a couple more prints I got the hang of it.

After making all of my fiber prints, I went onto re-washing and drying all my prints, and then dry mounting them. When I first started dry mounting I was really scared because if I messed it up it was a final print and then I would have to go back to the dark room and reprint it. Once I got the hang of dry mounting I really liked it and I did all of my prints in one day. 

After dry mounting I went onto framing which was extremely time consuming and tedious. Finalizing the details of my show such as putting on labels, and sequencing my show was the next step and because of my different narratives the sequencing of my show was not as hard as I had expected it to be. I also had an idea of using fetish boxes to put the titles in but I did not give myself enough time to make them work so I decided to go with more traditional labels.

Works Consulted

Corbis: photography, rights, assignment, motion. 2001-2007.  13 Oct. 2006.

Frankel, Mark. Personal Interview. 7 Dec. 2006.

Goethe, Johann. The Sorrows of Young Werther. London: New American Library, 1962.

Lichtenstein, Therese. Personal Interview. 12 Oct. 2006.

Lichtenstein, Therese. Personal Interview. 15 Nov. 2006. 

Martino, Alexis. Personal Interview. 15 Sept. 2006.

Messinger, John. Personal Interview. 10 Nov. 2006.

Messinger, John. Personal Interview. 8 Jan. 2007

Community Member (Details)

John Messinger

John graduated from Boston University, and is a free lance photographer.