Michael Massaia: Seeing the Black Dog
2013 has been a very good year for photographer Michael Massaia. He had several solo exhibitions, had work in numerous group shows and was one of the 8 winners of the Hearst 8×10 Photography Biennial Prize. I can’t help but think that these accolades come from a commitment to craft, the kind of commitment that is done as a solitary and exacting practice. I am featuring his series, Seeing the Black Dog, but wanted to share a couple of images from his other series, Deep in a Dream, Central Park, and Afterlife, New Jersey, all captured with the same level of excellence.
Born in New Jersey, Michael is a fine art Photographer and Printmaker who has spent the past few years documenting areas and objects that never extend to far from his front door. Isolation, disconnection, and an attempt to put a spotlight on the ordinary is the constant in all of his work. Michael specializes in large format black and white film image capture, and large format Platinum printing and Silver Gelatin Printing. All of his images are true “one shot” scenes (his images are never composited from multiple exposures). Michael works alone and is the sole craftsman from the instant the negative is exposed to the moment the final print is made.
Seeing the Black Dog
“Seeing the black dog” is a saying truck drivers use to describe hallucinations that occur as a result of sleep deprivation during cross country runs. When they see the “black dogs” scampering across the highway they know to pull over and get some sleep. The moment they make that decision is when I sneak up to their trucks while they’re in the cabs sleeping and capture the moment the dogs melt away. All of the images were taken between the hours of 2am and 6am along the New Jersey Turnpike.
All of my images were taken with 8×10 camera and black and white film developed in pyro. I hand make large format platinum & silver gelatin prints for all of the images. I work alone, and do all the work myself.
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