Our daily diner


6-19-04. Dinner at Denny’s, Normal, Illinois, by Nancy Breslin. 70-second exposure, toned silver gelatin print.

Brobdingnagian hamburgers, looming soda cups, and a surreal sense of space take over the photographs by Nancy Breslin, on display for another week at Saint Joseph’s University Gallery.

I dashed over to look at this work, all taken by a classic pinhole camera, because I had seen some examples at a conference and I wanted to see more.

Lunch at Johnny Rocket’s, Cedar Point, Ohio. 15-second exposure, toned silver gelatin print.

The exhibit of 23 photographs didn’t disappoint, and for the pleasure of the locals, Breslin included an image taken at Murray’s Delicatessen in Bala Cynwyd. The photographs’ mix of vertiginous, distorted diner and restaurant architecture and the diaristic titles that include time and place, create a struggle between the quotidian and the fantastic.

Breslin places the camera on whatever flat stable surface presents itself–a table top, a window sill. On top of the surprising points of view, which are what transform the food and tableware into hieratic objects and transform the spaces into threatening vistas, the slow exposures reduce the moving people to ghostly presences.

12-30-03. Lunch at Panera, Fairfax Virginia. 45-second exposure, toned silver gelatin print

The dinners at a friend’s house lack the humor and logic that make the commercial spaces make sense to me.

But somehow, in the commercial climate in which we live, that funny dominance of holy consumerist objects over the consumers themselves seems just right.


nancy breslin



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