On a road trip at 20-years-old, I discovered an environment that offered time to breath and break from reality. Utilizing various diner locations around Nashville, this work questions how we view the concept of nirvana. Nirvana is defined as a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self. The subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of rebirth. Tangible associations include paradise, heaven; bliss, ecstasy, joy, peace, serenity, tranquility; enlightenment.
This is what it’s like to be in Charles Bukowski’s poem, Nirvana. With particular regard to the detail and nostalgia of the lost mid-century American diner, the poem explores someone who finds comfort in the strange yet familiar diner setting. Bukowski’s diner in the hills is a magical place undisturbed by stresses and craziness of outside life. This inspired me to visit some of Nashville’s most famous diners, each unique yet familiar. By singling out and photographing booths across Nashville, I challenge the viewer to see them with fresh eyes. Most of these diners have been around for decades and reflect an aesthetic popular to their time most if not all of these locations have not updated, but they have instead chosen to retain an original aesthetic. The intention of this work is to evoke a sense of not only nirvana, but also comfort and familiarity that you can be found within any diner no matter where you are.