Michael Massaia’s Strangely Organic Images of Chewing Gum

by CaroPosted on

Chewing gum has a history that spans as far back as the ancient Greeks- that’s how long it’s been finding its way to the bottoms of our shoes, underneath tables, and just about anywhere else it can stick to. It’s not a pretty sight. However, New Jersey based photographer and print maker Michael Massaia saw something oddly compelling in the shapes of chewed gum and decided to make it the unlikely subject of his latest series. Massaia, featured here on our blog, first caught our attention for his photographs of melted ice cream that turned our memories of childhood summers into a powerful sensory symbol. His images of bubblegum evoke a similar feeling of nostalgia met with distaste, all of which were produced without any digital effects. Each piece is chewed and “sculpted” by Massaia himself by using his hands, tongue and teeth, after which he mounts it onto the back of glass and takes a photograph. The gum appears nothing like the colorful and flirty substance that it once was, but has a surrealistic and grotesque quality that looks more like organic matter or deep sea creatures. Suddenly, the gum has become an art material capable of surprising results that might make us look differently the next time we step in it.

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