retro diners: from Atlantic Canada to Vancouver

Black Boots, La Binerie Mont-Royal, Montreal 2007

© Leslie Hossack

The photographs in this new series are from a body of work created over the course of an entire year. In 2007, I photographed more than 30 diners, both vintage and contemporary. These include classics such as the Templeton in Vancouver, and lost icons such as the Canary in Toronto and Bens in Montreal. This is a study of retro diners from Atlantic Canada to Vancouver.

Throughout my life I’ve had a tendency to eschew conventional status symbols. Consequently, I love the way the camera allows me to attribute elevated status to everyday objects and places, to portray the inclusive as exclusive – even diners.

Public spaces and familiar items from previous generations fascinate me. I don’t live in the past, but I do feel a strong sense of time running through my photographs; I hear a narrative in every series and I see a story in every image. I take great interest in researching the history of locations that I photograph.

There is an ongoing tension between the macro and the micro in my life and my art. No matter the situation, I recognize that I am instantly aware of the big picture and simultaneously obsessed with the smallest details. Whether I am photographing a massive construction site, an iconic landmark, or a fleeting window reflection, my work continues to revolve around two main themes: change and continuity, representation and reality. But underlying all of this is an insatiable search for meaning.

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