Michael Massaia: For Xiaodan

Chinatown tenements 2008 - 2019

“Xiaodan” is a Chinese name for girls meaning “little dawn.” Our intrepid night owl Michael Massaia found this appropriate title for his series of early morning portraits of tenements scattered throughout New York City’s Chinatown. “For Xiaodan” is an extension of Michael’s ongoing portfolio of the city and the shore at a precise moment around dawn that he loves.

“Chinatown in New York City feels like the last neighborhood in Manhattan. It’s reminiscent of the more unhinged and romantic New York. I started this series back in 2008 (the bulk of the images were captured in 2008). All of the images are shot using a 4″x5” view camera with a severely wide angle lens. All perspective adjustments are done in camera. All of the images are shot on black and white sheet film; all of the prints are split toned and tinted gelatin silver prints.