Leah Frances Documents the Quiet Complexities of Diners

American nostalgia.

The classic American diner has been immortalized in the popular imagination by Edward Hopper, and countless others. A staple meeting place for people of all stripes, the casual eatery with plastic-covered booths and unlimited coffee is known not just in the USA but around the world.

Canadian-born photographer Leah Frances turns her lens to the humble diner in American Squares. Instead of the bustling hubs we might be used to seeing, it is the lack of people, the emptiness of the spaces, that stands out. Whether the pandemic or the more general decline of downtowns is to blame, Frances captures the melancholia of a space designed for people that finds itself without them.

There is a deep nostalgia that runs throughout, not only for the vintage decor and the ’50s feeling, but also for a time when these diners were packed full of customers.



Classic diner booth


Building with cheesesteaks sign




American diner table with ketchup and jukebox


Leah Frances American Squares neon sign





Leah Frances American Squares booth with jukebox


Leah Frances American Squares booth with neon sign



Leah Frances American Squares diner bar top