Do-Nut Dinette ©Kathryn Van Aernum

In the process of cleaning out my studio, I came across this photograph that is probably 30 years old. I shot it in a neighborhood called Ghent in Norfolk, VA. There used to be a greasy spoon called the Do-nut Dinette. The restaurant is still there, but it has gone upscale. There were “old” ladies in hairnets behind the counter that would always add a couple extra donuts in the bag if you were a regular. They had the best “gut grenades” you ever ate. Krispy Kreme couldn’t match them.

I remember taking this on a Saturday afternoon in the fall after the dinette had closed for the day. The light on the salt shaker and other background serviceware came in from the two big windows on the front of the building facing Colley Ave. I was looking in from the side window.

I love the way it appears someone dashed out the door to catch their cab – leaving the cigarette to burn. You would come out of the dinette smelling like grease and cigarette smoke; the mark of a real diner. I love how only the name of the cab company is in focus. It was shot with a Konica T-3 Reflex camera with a Konishiroku Hexanon 52 mm / 1:1.4. This was a fast, sharp prime lens and I was shooting wide open. Based on the lack of grain in the photo I think I used Kodak Plus-X and I did process the photo in the darkroom—talk about throwback! I really miss that camera. My dad might miss it too. I borrowed it from him for a class I was taking in college and kept it so long he finally gave it to me. Thanks dad.

PS: I looked up the Black and White Cab company on the net. The phone number has changed. Don’t call the one in the picture.