About the Book
In 1970 Helaine Garren shot a series of images at Bensinger’s Pool Hall in Chicago, Illinois while she was a student at the Art Institute of Chicago. The book incorporates elements of history from the pool hall and the characters who played there, and include a short essay written about Bensinger’s by David Mamet from 1986, long after the pool hall closed its doors for good.
“During school I began photographing at Bensinger’s, a classic old-time pool hall that had been the inspiration for The Hustler. I had spent a good deal of time shooting pool there and thought the beautiful side lighting and shady characters would provide an ideal setting. I began shooting with a telephoto lens at first. I didn’t want to disrupt the concentration and social dynamics at the tables. I was there so often, though, that I became a fixture and could sit right next to the tables, and no one seemed to notice me.”