Michael Massaia

www.michaelmassaia.com/

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©Michael Massaia, The Funtown Pier-Post Hurricane Sandy, 2012

30”x40”  Gold & Selenium Toned Gelatin Silver Print

Afterlife 1 New Jersey Shore 2008 - 2012

I started documenting Central Park (Deep in a Dream, Central Park 2008-2019) back in 2007 as way of coping with severe insomnia.  I would commonly take long walks at night, and the park always seemed to be calling me in.  I set out to document the park at its most vacant, isolating, and at times, haunting moments.

In 2008, I started to document the amusement piers that skirt the New Jersey Coastline during their most vacant moments (usually between the hours of 4 and 6am).  The images were predominantly shot on the Funtown and Casino Piers in Seaside Park & Seaside Heights New Jersey.  In 2012, Hurricane Sandy rolled in and completely destroyed both piers. The landscape was forever altered. These images chronicle the final days of these piers, as well as what remained of the piers after the hurricane.

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©Michael Massaia, The Casino Pier-Hurricane Sandy, 2012

22”x28”   Gold Toned Gelatin Silver Print

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©Michael Massaia, Artic Circle, 2009

42”x53”  Gold Toned Gelatin Silver Print

Afterlife 2 New Jersey Shore 2006 - 2016

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©Michael Massaia, Funtown Pier T-Rex, 2009

43”x53  Split Toned & Tinted Gelatin Silver Print

Afterlife 3 New Jersey Shore 2019 - 2021

I started the Afterlife 3 series in late winter/early spring-2020 and worked on this series all through the virus when everything was shut down and when these towns/amusement piers started to try an open again this summer.  I completed the series a few weeks ago- (just about one year after I started it).  

These amusement towns/shore communities in New Jersey seemed like the last free places on earth.  They took on an eerie (almost romantic) stance in the face of all the turmoil surrounding them. I found this time reminiscent of when I was younger and would hang out on the boardwalk all night.  There was this beautiful mixture of danger, freedom, unpredictability, that gave way to an odd type of romance.  There was always an undercurrent of sadness, but it was gorgeous type of sadness....

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©Michael Massaia, Turned Off Bumper-Cars, 2020

22”x28”  Split Toned & Tinted Gelatin Silver Print

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©Michael Massaia, Strong Man, 2020

22”x28”  Split Toned & Tinted Gelatin Silver Print

Like with most of my series these days, this series was all shot using a 5"x7" view camera, black and white film developed in pyro, and I handmake the final prints as split toned (Iron, Selenium, Bleached/Selenium) and tinted (which can include oils and dyes) gelatin silver.  I still do all the work myself.