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March 2011

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 opened up this world to a new audience. Behind the often crumbling exteriors, he found vibrant places full of strong characters, quirky details and more than a hint of nostalgia.

“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

To celebrate the success of the Bingo & Social Club book with photographs from Michael Hess, The Book Club welcomed this fantastic photographer to exhibit images from the book. If you haven’t heard of him yet, Michael Hess’ photography captures the spirit and mood of his subjects, and with his book, has presented himself as one of the true rising stars in the photography world. His other projects include the photographing the UK hip hop scene and images of a controversial concrete housing block as well as work for corporate and music magazines. Across all these projects, it’s clear that Michael’s eye for composition is an exceptional talent and he manages to encapsulate true Britishness at it’s best.

The book Bingo & Social Club was published by Dewi Lewis. For the first time, this body of work was displayed in a major solo show at The Book Club.

‘…if it weren’t for German-born-but-London based photographer Michael Hess’s inquisitiveness, the world would, in our humble opinion, be a poorer place.’ Nude