Bingo & Social Club.
Photographs by Michael Hess. Photographs Michael Hess, texts Maxine Gallagher.
Dewi Lewis Publishing,
112 pp., 80 duotone illustrations, 8¼x10".
Around 1pm, every day of the week, nearly 600 bingo halls across the UK
open their doors to thousands of loyal customers. But, although they can
be found on almost every British high street, surprisingly few people ever
see what goes on inside.
In Bingo & Social Club, photographer Michael Hess opens up this world
to a new audience. Behind the often-crumbling exteriors, he finds vibrant
places full of strong characters, quirky details and more than a hint of
nostalgia. In his own words: “I want people to feel that they’ve spent a
night at the bingo – to sense what it feels like to be there.”
Michael Hess and Maxine Gallagher spent many nights in the clubs, playing
bingo, chatting with the managers and customers, and collecting
stories from the people they met. They wanted to find out who these
people really were. “Bingo halls are not just about gambling; they’re about
human beings. They really do act as social hubs for many communities.”
Jack, the manager of a bingo club in Newcastle, forms the backbone of
the book.“He’s quite a character – tough and yet extremely dignified – and
I knew straight away he could add the extra dimension I was looking for.”