Michael Massaia is driven by the belief of the primacy of an original idea as the critical and pivotal element of creation in contemporary art. This is the stimulating factor and purpose behind the relentless pursuit of perfection in his photographic process in which he is the sole creator. Not fitting into the rigors of conventional education, Michael is completely self-taught in the conception, creation and execution of each step of the finished work. Judging by the large coherent body of work he has created in under a decade, one expects to meet an old master, not someone born in 1978. While many photographers yearn to travel to distant corners of the earth to bring back startling images of people and places untouched by civilization, he upends our conventional ideas of photographic “exploration” by finding the extraordinary hiding in plain sight near his doorstep. The photographs are true “one shot” scenes whose images are never composited from multiple exposures. Michael’s fifteen, currently published portfolios are an attempt at finding a connection to things that most others would never think of looking at. Central to much of his art is a sense of loneliness and isolation.
Michael works mostly with perspective correcting view cameras in 4×5, 5×7,8×10, 11×14 and more recently, with a medium format digital camera, mounted on the sturdiest tripods to record all the precise details his meticulous prints demonstrate. Seeing these luminous, hand wrought prints rendered with excruciating detail and otherworldly resolution is nothing short of mesmerizing. Whether its’ his large scale platinum/ palladium prints, toned silver gelatin contact prints, or his colorful pigment prints, both eye and mind are fully engaged. His largest prints are not viewed; it seems that one can actually “enter” the photograph. Like much of the best art, they compel your immediate attention and continue to delight and unfold with repeated viewing.