Article by Beautiful Decay
April 14, 2015 by Stephanie Chan
Photographer Michael Massaia has been lauded for his haunting black and white photographs that catch the shadow life of cities at night. In his photo series, Transmogrify, he turns his eye not to a city caught in limbo, but rather a period of time. Massaia captures childhood treats melting into swirls and psychedelic puddles, creating traces of sugar and cream that look almost like wisps of smoke.
From the classic Neapolitan ice cream bar to more modern fare such as My Little Pony popsicles with gumball eyes, the series shows a simpler time in a moment of transformation. Set against a stark black background, though, the photos aren’t quite portraits; they seem to take a deeper look, as though putting childhood memories on a microscope slide.
More than just sticky remnants between an 8-year-old’s fingers, Massaia’s work seems to allude to something more precious and ephemeral. Viewed from one perspective, the melting ice cream has the same pastel and neon colors as a sidewalk chalk drawing, smudged by fresh rain. From another perspective, the photos speak of decay and something that can’t be revisited, sweeter maybe in memoriam.
Transmogrify is currently on display at Gallery 270 in New Jersey until May 16th.