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There are many advantages to eating meals alone. It’s the most effective way to secure a spot (often at the bar) at the hottest restaurants in town. There’s more opportunity for interaction with bartenders and waiters, and sometimes servers are more attentive to these diners. Finally, there are just fewer distractions: It’s easier to fully immerse oneself in the experience of eating out. Between daily professional and personal obligations, this can be an increasingly rare chance to take some time away from everyone and everything, albeit just for an hour or so (that includes your mobile device). Not to mention you can order that turtle cheesecake for dessert without being judged.

And yet eating alone still gets a bad rap. It’s called sad or depressing by some and generally looked down upon in popular culture. At least one individual wants to change that perception. Time recently spoke with Jerry Hsu, a California native and founder of the photo blog Table for One. The page depicts people eating by themselves at chain restaurants, cafés, and public plazas. Fittingly, all photos are posted without any accompanying captions or commentary. It’s a powerful photographic study of solitude in a society that increasingly highlights companionship.