The last time I was at the Skylight Diner, on Route 1, I vowed that I'd come back the next time and take a picture of the hand drier in the bathroom. I have slight qualms of unease now that I see how the new Art Deco curved surface manages to reduce the photographer to a fairly repellent squat gnome, an unwanted projection of body dysmorphia. And that aside, I attracted a fairly horrified look from a woman who came out of her cubicle and fled - I don't like to think what she thought I was up to: a member of the germ and hygiene inspection corps, perhaps?
Bathrooms are very fertile areas for photography: the new issue of Gastronomica (food writing, food history, food porn) has got a couple of spreads of pictures by Eric Levin, entitled "I'll Be Right Back: Visits to Restaurant Men's Rooms." I guess I don't see many of these, except when completely desperate: this selection suggests - no surprise, I guess - that they can be as antiseptically impersonal or as crimson and camped up as ladies' rooms. My own predilection (for today was far from being the first time I've taken rest room pictures) is for the windows that one often find in them: clouded, opaque glass, with real leaves pressing up behind them, and all manner of surprising bits of decor, from practical bottles to leaves and berries and dried grasses. But the Skylark offers up only shiny black tiles and, of course, these space-age hand driers.