As a keen observer of the world and with the encouragement from friends, Jay Monti turned an avocation into a second vocation. Discovering an Amish settlement near his home Jay became interested in their way of life. Upon receiving permission, Monti photographed their farms and animals.
After earning the trust of several members of the community, Jay was given permission to photograph an individual from behind so he could not be recognized. Being recognized is prideful and violates the sense of community prevalent in Amish settlements. A bishop informed Jay, “If you take a picture of someone and separate him from the rest of us, he may think he is someone, but he is not. He is just one of us.” A photograph of an unrecognizable individual who may represent any Amish person in any Amish community is acceptable.
Spending fifteen years working with and among the community, he built a sizable collection of photographs that have been published around the world. National magazines in the United States and Europe have featured Monti’s work. His work has been purchased by the Federal Government and is permanently exhibited in several hospitals, nursing homes and educational institutions.
Jay’s efforts have been rewarded with several Best of Show and first place ribbons in photographic exhibitions. Jay Monti has been featured in solo exhibitions in New York and in Pennsylvania and represented in private collections throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Japan and in the South Pacific.