More than likely, you wouldn’t journey into the Metropolitan Museum of Art looking for canvas drawings of a Peterbilt 379 or the Louvre to find sculptures of the hard working truck driver. The fine art community has been pretty silent on the topic of semi trucks until recently.
One young artist has seen the beauty of the behemoth trucks and captured them on film. If you find yourself enchanted by a high quality print of a Godfrey truck anytime soon, you can thank the talented Michael Massaia.
As a way to cope with his insomnia, the New Jersey photographer wanders around desolated areas to capture scenery and locales that the average person misses. Not too different from many truck drivers, Massaia finds his productive hours are in the late night or early morning while most of the world is still asleep.
Trucks through an artful lens
From the work of Michael Massaia
One of Massaia’s more recent albums is titled “Seeing the Black Dog” and is completely centered on working trucks. In many trucker circles, seeing the black dog refers to when the sleeplessness of the driver begins to catch up with them. They may begin to hallucinate black dogs on the highway, signaling that it’s past time to get some rest.
Between the hours of 2am and 6am on the New Jersey turnpike, Massaia captured the idle trucks on film while the drivers slept inside. In the cover of night and under a sheet, he took out his analog camera and chronicled the scene.
All of Massaia’s photos are on 8×10 sheets and in black and white, which he develops by hand in a dark room. His method is a more traditional one that requires a good deal of time but is the only way he believes the true mood and feeling of his images can be understood.
Thankfully, artists like Michael Massaia continue to be fascinated by the everyday. Truck drivers, being pivotal to most everyday operations, can feasibly see more focus from the art world in the near future. The plight of the working man, or woman, has always been of interest to the art community, so why not the actual movers of the American economy?