Dinner in NY: A Documentary Photo Project by Miho Aikawa

U Pa Mok Kha is a monk from Myanmar who cannot eat after 12 noon. Local people bring him food and after he is done, he shares the rest of the food with them. Age: 55 Time: 11:17 AM  Location: Jackson Heights, Queens

U Pa Mok Kha is a monk from Myanmar who cannot eat after 12 noon. Local people bring him food and after he is done, he shares the rest of the food with them. Age: 55 Time: 11:17 AM Location: Jackson Heights, Queens

All photographs shot by and used with permission from Miho Aikawa.

A great photo series can be predicated on even the simplest idea. Take Dinner in NY, a photo series by Japanese photographer Miho Aikawa, which shows how the last meal of the day can take on so many different forms. A city as dense and varied as New York allows for this kind of mix.

“Growing up, both of my parents had full-time jobs and it was difficult for us to spend time together,” Aikawa said of the aspect of her youth that, in part, inspired this project. 

To Aikawa, and probably many others, dinner is more than just the food in front of you. It’s what you do during that time, too, that factors into the meal, whether it’s watching television, caring for your children or catching up on emails. The meals are not necessarily at home either. In one of the images, a man is eating on his train ride home to Pleasantville, NY.

At its core, Dinner in NY offers us slices of life.

“It’s true to say that my photo project has a voyeuristic perspective and it’s one of the key elements. Dinner time is usually private and shows a part of the person’s life style,” Aikawa said.

There is as much truth in Aikawa’s project as there is in street photography. Granted, there’s a good deal of dialogue that goes on before and during the shoot, but the images look and feel genuine. And it is in these moments that we can truly get to know her subjects without meeting them.

Aikawa made a similar photo series in her native Japan titled Dinner in Tokyo, which offered far fewer chances for diversity than New York, and she found people were, on average, shier than those in NYC.

See more photos from the series after the jump, and check out Dinner in Tokyo on Miho’s website.

Garro Heedae, a musician has dinner late at night after intensive drum rehearsal sessions. Age: 28   Time: 1:20 AM  Location: Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn

Garro Heedae, a musician has dinner late at night after intensive drum rehearsal sessions. Age: 28 Time: 1:20 AM Location: Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn

Chelsea Olson, a model concentrates on her food while reviewing her busy day. Age: 20  Time: 8:13 PM Location: Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn

Chelsea Olson, a model concentrates on her food while reviewing her busy day. Age: 20 Time: 8:13 PM Location: Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn

Kristy May has quick dinner, dandling her 1 month newborn baby. Age: 32 Time: 4:50 PM Location: Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Kristy May has quick dinner, dandling her 1 month newborn baby. Age: 32 Time: 4:50 PM Location: Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Zheng Yun lives with her daughter and son, but usually eats dinner alone while watching TV. Age: 52 Time: 8:54 PM  Location: Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn

Zheng Yun lives with her daughter and son, but usually eats dinner alone while watching TV. Age: 52 Time: 8:54 PM Location: Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn

Bobby Blue and Joey Outten met each other through blind date cooking and they enjoy cooking and eating dinner together. Time: 7:23 PM  Location: Bedford, Brooklyn

Bobby Blue and Joey Outten met each other through blind date cooking and they enjoy cooking and eating dinner together. Time: 7:23 PM Location: Bedford, Brooklyn

Kimberly Cherubin and Gregory Santos, wife and husband often stay late at offices on weekdays but try to have dinner together as much as possible, usually accompanied by their cat, Tigerlilli. Age: Kimberly 31, Gregory 31 Time: 9:06 PM Location: Inwood, New York

Kimberly Cherubin and Gregory Santos, wife and husband often stay late at offices on weekdays but try to have dinner together as much as possible, usually accompanied by their cat, Tigerlilli. Age: Kimberly 31, Gregory 31 Time: 9:06 PM Location: Inwood, New York

Gideon, a security guard of a storage company eats a simple dinner at work. Time: 7:42 PM  Location: Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn

Gideon, a security guard of a storage company eats a simple dinner at work. Time: 7:42 PM Location: Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn

Richard Phillip Nelson, who works in several restaurants, eats dinner during his break at an organic cafe in Earthmatters. He is an organic vegan and comes to this cafe a few times in a week. Age: 59, Time: 5:58 PM Location: Lower East Side, New York

Richard Phillip Nelson, who works in several restaurants, eats dinner during his break at an organic cafe in Earthmatters. He is an organic vegan and comes to this cafe a few times in a week. Age: 59, Time: 5:58 PM Location: Lower East Side, New York

Emilie Rolin Jacquemyns , a graduate student from Belgium, eats a salad at home after evening classes. Age: 27  Time: 9:46 PM  Location: Upper East Side, New York

Emilie Rolin Jacquemyns , a graduate student from Belgium, eats a salad at home after evening classes. Age: 27 Time: 9:46 PM Location: Upper East Side, New York

Avina Christie, a 9-month old baby has dinner with her mother, and through a skype video call shares the time with her grandparents who live in Boston. Age: Avina 9 Months Time: 6:57 PM  Location: Upper West, New York

Avina Christie, a 9-month old baby has dinner with her mother, and through a skype video call shares the time with her grandparents who live in Boston. Age: Avina 9 Months Time: 6:57 PM Location: Upper West, New York