In Michael Massaia’s silver platinum landscapes of Central Park, abandoned houses, and closed amusement parks, light takes on an eerie, incandescent quality. The exposures are made between 2:00 and 5:00 AM with a large format camera that records and defines the light that comes out of darkness. Isolation, disconnection, the shifting lines between revealing and concealing, and an attempt to put a spotlight on the ordinary are constants in all of his work. Night serves as the backdrop in which the photographer can record, or draw, an almost infinite patterning of light and create a world either real or imagined. On a metaphoric level, night is a time of darkness which, by nature, conceals objects, people, and locations.
Michael Massaia was born in 1978 and grew up in New Jersey, remaining around the New York City metro area in New Jersey throughout his life. His involvement in photography started in high school and he has remained consumed by a calling to create fine pictures ever since. He is self-taught and extremely well versed in the science of photography merging his astonishing technical talent with original and thoroughly planned compositional skills. He specializes in large format black and white film image captures and large format platinum and silver gelatin printing. Having researched and perfected negative exposure and processing including chemicals and even having built his own cameras, Massaia’s hand is in all that he does. He works alone and is the sole craftsman from the composing of the picture behind the ground glass to the moment the final print is made. Massaia’s photographs are true “one shot” scenes (his images are never composited from multiple exposures).
Having created various series of work such as “Deep in a Dream” that depicts Central Park during the nocturnal hours or solitary houses in New Jersey for “In the Final Throes: New Jersey,” the constant in Massaia’s work is a nocturnal atmosphere devoid of any human presence. Massaia has exhibited extensively throughout the United States showing his technical and compositional aptitude to a wide audience. His work has been featured in television documentaries, written about extensively in major photography magazines, and he has been a recipient in the 2013 Hearst 8 x 10 Photography Biennial. Today, Massaia continues to produce uniquely beautiful nocturnal compositions in brilliantly saturated blacks, whites, and grays.