Ten new images from the ongoing series Deep in A Dream by fine art photographer Michael Massaia. He states that “for the most part I would shoot the images in the early spring. I started shooting in the dead of winter because of how much more isolating and quiet it is in the park during those very cold nights/early mornings.” Massaia uses a modified 5×7 film camera to capture the new images and handmakes the gelatin silver prints. To give the images added dimension, he split tones them using gold, selenium, palladium, and sepia to accomplish this.
“When I start any photo project my aspirations with it are usually very selfish. Since I was 5 years old I always had this very romantic and extremely unrealistic view of New York City. I used to go up on my roof in New Jersey just to see if I could get a glimpse of the Empire State building. I loved the fact (especially when I was younger) that the city had this quality, that at any given moment something really bad or really wonderful could happen. It seemed unhinged and free. As time went on, the reality of the city kind of chipped away at my idealistic view of NYC, but oddly enough my insomnia has allowed me to hold onto to a piece of my youthful outlook. Exploring Central Park at it’s most vacant hours really takes me back to sitting on my parents roof in New Jersey when I was a kid. All of those possibilities (good and awful) surrounding me on the outskirts of the park. The flickers of lights in the buildings surrounding me, and yet I’m alone as far I can see.”
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.