Dining Alone: In the Company of Solitude
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Dining Alone is a collection of fine art portraits of solo diners, shot over a span of thirty-five years. The photographer, Nancy A. Scherl, is our neighbor and a longtime customer, and we are delighted to offer signed copies of this fascinating and handsome book.
Fully bound in cloth, Dining Alone features more than seventy photos. Many were taken in New York City, in recognizable locations as varied as Lexington Candy Shop, the Oyster Bar at Grand Central, and Veselka. But there are others from a restaurant inside Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, an outdoor dining spot in Trivandum, India, and a Chicago coffee shop. Much of the later portions of the book feature portraits of people dining in tents and sheds during the pandemic.
"When we dine alone in public, we are observers, and we are observed," writes Scherl. "We project our own psyches into strangers we see in public, but we cannot know with accuracy what they think or what their circumstances are. We cannot easily determine whether those we view for a few moments are, in fact, lonely or at peace in their solitude, whether the person is bound in their aloneness or set free."
Scherl emulates cinema verité, often posing her subjects, offering subtle direction, and asking them to “act out” what they experience when they’re in a specific setting. Her camerawork may include a predetermined background and sometimes controlled lighting, but she will capture her subjects more spontaneously, once they appear within her camera frame.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.
Dining Alone is published by Daylight Books, a non-profit organization dedicated to publishing art and photography books that explore the documentary mode.