Hess photographed various bingo halls and social clubs over a period of four years (hence people smoking in some of the shots) for a book that was published last November by Dewi Lewis Publishing. “I played bingo one night in 2005, just out of curiosity about what went on inside the big converted cinema near my house,” he says. “I was instantly fascinated by the characters. And so the next time I visited, I took my camera.”
He spent time both playing bingo but also meeting the customers at the clubs, and the sense of camaraderie he encountered comes through in many of his shots. “Bingos halls are not just about gambling,” he says, “they’re about human beings. They really do act as social hubs for many communities.”
The exhibition at The Book Club will run until March 30, and includes images from the book, as well as unpublished work. Alongside the photos are extracts of text taken from interviews and overheard conversations at the bingo halls.