How do you take your coffee?
Everyone’s an equal at a diner. Truckers, families, cross-country travelers, hitchhikers, the regulars, teenagers who love coffee and everyone in between. Something about the booth or countertop of a diner feels like a safe place no matter your purpose. Classic and homey—plenty of adjectives to choose from. The staff feels like a family and you’re likely going to order that comfort food you’ve been dying for—one of the more pure experiences still going steady in modern times. That Americana feeling and look is translated into photos for this edition of Perspectives, where we asked photographers what a diner represents to them— the following is what they had to say. Side of grits, please.
Michele Hamparian // @micheleonfilm
Brooklyn, New York
To me, a breakfast diner represents the last stop of a good night out. That golden hour where the night-goers cross paths with the morning-goers. A place, similar to film, that is steeped in nostalgia with its muted colors and warm tones.
Taylor Davis // @taylordavis.co
Breakfast diners represent something both uniquely and nostalgically American — their warm glow serving as a 24-hour refuge for the hungry, the tired and the drunk. Unironic and safe, the food and coffee satisfy something deep, deep within your soul, always there waiting for your return.
Jared Jurcak // @jaredjurcak
It’s the black coffee in those short, thick mugs. A salty (in the best way) wait staff, and about the only place where chicken-fried steak sounds good.
TK Wang // @tk.somewhere
Kansas City, Missouri
Breakfast means a lot to me because it’s half an hour in a day just for me. I work in a very fast-paced tech field, so starting a quiet morning with a cup of morning coffee gives me that little quiet moment of the day I need. Dinner is when I release my energy. I try to share and receive positive energy with my family and friends at the dinner table. I’m usually an extroverted person. So dinner is where I give out that extroverted energy and breakfast is that little part of myself who likes to enjoy calmness that nobody knows.
Griffin Malone // @griffinforme
I think I often lose sight of how many different communities and microscopic subcultures are out there. Wandering down random country roads and stumbling across a small diner (with coffee that’s still somehow a dollar for a cup) gives me the opportunity to sit and observe those communities. It reminds me how vastly intricate every town can be and I am forever grateful for that reminder.
Claire Tadeo // @clairetadeo_photography
This is a place that hosts transition, but always feels familiar. It has seen me at both dusk and dawn and never asked me to rush into the next phase of the day. Although time will continue on, I think there is a source of respite in these booths for all who pass through.
Gunner Hughes // @gunner.hughes
Cheap black coffee and a stomachache. For me, it’s a refuge on the road. Late nights, early mornings, cheap black coffee and the perfect amount of comfort, nostalgia and Americana rolled into a reflective metal shell.