Book    Features    Info    Contact
The Guardian
Interview by Andrew Pulver, 2011
The Independent
Photo slideshow, 2011
The Telegraph
Audio slideshow, 2011
Exhibition review, 2011
Interview by Lucia Davies, 2011
Exhibition review by Oran Blackwood, 2011
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but if it weren't for German-born-but-Londonbased photographer Michael Hess's inquisitiveness, the world would, in our humble opinion, be a poorer place. For one night in 2005, Hess played bingo just to see what went on inside the big old converted cinema near his house. 'I was instantly fascinated by the characters. And so the next time I visited, I took my camera,' he explains.

The result is the magnificent social document that is the book, Bingo & Social Club. From huge, wide-angled aerial shots of white tables and bowed heads (eyes down), to more intimate portraits of punters going about their bingo business, Hess's photographs effortlessly avoid patronising his working class subjects. Instead, depicting such things as an older couple's loving kiss, a shared joke or the intense concentration of those studying their numbers, they succeed in capturing all of the camaraderie, tension, hope, anticipation and occasional bouts of boredom of a typical night down the bingo.

Meanwhile, writer Maxine Gallagher's brief interviews with staff and regulars, and transcriptions of snippets of conversation which punctuate the photos, all add to the overall sense of intimacy.

Finally, it's perhaps testimony to the dramatic way in which social norms have been overhauled in recent years that, though shot just a few years ago, the fact that so many of those pictured are puffing away on cigarettes gives them a sense of being from another age.
Interview by Liz Foggit, 2011
Nude Magazine >>>
Book review by Suzy Prince, 2011
Who's Jack
Interview by Lu Orcheston-Findlay, 2011
The Other Side Magazine
Interview, 2011