From Kala Barba-Court’s review of Michael Massaia’s series, “Deep in a Dream: Central Park,” for Plain:
The City that Never Sleeps has its lucid moments, if you look hard enough. Self-taught photographer Michael Massaia made the most out of his crippling insomnia by taking late-night strolls around New York City, taking along his camera to document a Central Park devoid of activity. The result is an eerie portrayal of the city that’s a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle New York is known for.
Massaia had several brushes with robbery attempts and fights throughout the project – shooting with an 8-by-10 camera meant he had to have a dark cloth covering his head, which doesn’t exactly inspire awareness of potential danger lurking about in an empty park.
Massaia chose the late nights of early spring, from 2009 to 2014. He incorporates Pyro, a toxic stain developer, into his film processing, causing the rich yet soft display of black-and-white in his photos. The results are impressive: his snapshots of Central Park and the cityscape casts a different shadow on what is unmistakably New York.