Friday, August 8, 2014


"Growing up In New Jersey, most of my time was spent along its coastline. At night I would watch both the locals and tourists alike walk the boardwalk, get into fights, and ride the rides I was always too afraid to go on. The environment was always on the brink of becoming completely unhinged, and I wanted nothing more then to be a part of it (but I ultimately never made it beyond a spectator). After leaving this area for 10 years I returned and realized (at least for me) nothing much had changed. I was still alone staring at rides that seemed like portals to another place that I still haven’t figured out how to get to. The “Afterlife” portfolio was created using a 8x10” camera, black and white film developed in PYRO, and the final prints are large format platinum prints that I hand make. Utilizing certain film developing and printing techniques I created, I attempted to chase and ultimately put on paper my childhood vision of these commonly misrepresented areas that line the New Jersey coastline."
-Michael Massaia

That quote is taken from his "Afterlife" body of work. Michael Massaia's tonal ranges and ranges of blacks, greys, and whites are absolutely beautiful. The first photograph I came across was of the New Jersey boardwalk after hurricane Irene devastated the New Jersey coastline. 

 The "dream" like look of the water and how fantasy it looks combined with the surrealism of the event that took place. Call it naive or cliche, but it is interesting how such a beautiful photograph can come from such a devastating event. When looking at his other photographs, one notices that some seem to have a subtle difference between highlights and shadows while other photos have an extreme highlight in one area followed by extreme shadows. This is where I assume his PYRO photo developer comes into play. Originally used to develop silver plates, now there are several different formulas and developers that will achieve desired effects of more fog or reducing grain effect. The use of PYRO developers is very interesting and would like to continue looking into it.

Another body of work of Massaia's includes photography of homes, some of which are older and are coming to an end of their time. While some may be nearing their end, but he also photographed newer homes which are beginning their long life of providing shelter for families.

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