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#6 A photo festival in Eindhoven

Speaking: Hans Zoete

Photo Hans Zoete from the catalog Foto Manifestatie Eindhoven 1994. The exhibition of Hans Zoete was on show at Galerie Pennings.

Hans Zoete met Harry Pennings in 1992. In 1989, Hans had moved from Den Bosch to Eindhoven. He was a freelance photographer and worked as a photography teacher at the Center for the Arts in Eindhoven (CKE). Although he had studied at the art academy of Den Bosch, he afterwards switched to photography. Hans Zoete wanted to organize a photo festival in Eindhoven. Bart Brenneker, then head of department at CKE, advised him to contact Harry Pennings.

Harry Pennings joined the organization, as did Harry Verbeek, from the municipality of Eindhoven and Willem van den Berg, chairman of the BNAFV Brabant-Oost. "Everyone had their own expertise," says Hans Zoete. "Harry Verbeek was an organizational talent, Harry Pennings had a great deal of knowledge of Dutch and French autonomous photography, Willem van den Berg had a great deal of knowledge of British photography and I was familiar with Dutch documentary photography."

“A name was invented: Foto Manifestatie Eindhoven. And a foundation was established. A lot of time was spent on applying for subsidies from the province and the municipality as well as a number of funds. The province was the most important subsidy. The first time the foundation received 1500 guilders subsidy from the province, then 25,000."


Photo Manifestation Eindhoven was organized four times in total, in 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2000. After that the subsidy from the province stopped. Soon Breda started organizing a photo festival, Breda Photo, just like the Eindhoven photo festival a biennial. The first edition of BredaPhoto took place in 2003. For the second edition in 2005, Harry Pennings was asked as curator for the main exhibition.

The first edition of Photo Manifestation Eindhoven in 1994 was grand in design, with many exhibitions and activities that took place in the month of May. The theme was "People and environment". In addition to Hans Zoete and Harry Pennings, the committee for the composition of the exhibitions also included Jan Kok and Jan Buster. "During the photo festival I had a solo exhibition at Galerie Pennings, which was not very useful from an organizational point of view, because we were very busy with the festival."

Flesh & Blood

At the 1994 edition a catalog was published that provides much information about the many exhibitions and activities. The traveling exhibition ‘Flesh & Blood’, with 66 family photos of American and European photographers, came to Eindhoven and was on show in De Witte Dame. Diana Blok’s photo of her parents had been selected for the cover of the catalog of the international exhibition (the book is in the library of Pennings Foundation) and has also been incorporated in the cover of the catalog of Foto Manifestatie Eindhoven.

The photo Diana Blok made of her parents was used for the cover of the catalog Flesh & Blood and also for the catalog Foto Manifestatie Eindhoven 1994

During the festival, Diana Blok gave a workshop ‘staged portrait’ at the CKE.

Many films were shown in CKE and in Plaza Futura, including films by Johan van der Keuken, who also exhibited his photographs and gave a lecture at Plaza Futura. Paul and Menno de Nooijer gave a performance at Plaza Futura. And photographs by Paul de Nooijer were on show at Galerie Bilderdijklaan.

In May 1994, in addition to the activities, there were 38 locations for exhibitions, large and small. In addition to ‘Flesh & Blood’, De Witte Dame also featured a large retrospective exhibition of British photojournalist Don McCullin. And also photos by, among others, Toos Nijssen, Kors van Bennekom, Diana Blok, Ruud de Brouwer and Malou Swinnen.

Museum Kempenland organized ‘Eindhoven, aspects of a city’, with photographs by Arthur Bagen, Jan Bogaerts, Paul den Hollander, Jos Lammers and Joep Lennarts. The World Press 1994 exhibition was on show in the Heuvelgalerie shopping center. A selection from the Randstad Photo Collection, including photos by Erwin Olaf, was presented at Hogeschool Eindhoven (now called Fontys).

Vintage prints by Martien Coppens were on show in the Town Hall. The selection was made by his son, photo historian Jan Coppens. The Van Abbemuseum also participated with a selection from its own collection, photos by Lothar Baumgarten, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Jan Dibbets, Ger van Elk, Hamish Fulton, Gilbert & George, Douglas Huebler and Richard Long.


“Granting subsidies was never structural but ad hoc. For organizing a number of activities we got permission to use the Beursgebouw and the PSV Stadium free of charge for a few days. And for the transport of the exhibitions ‘Flesh & Blood’ and ‘Don McCullin’, Philips had offered their own aircraft, free of charge. The Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Prof. dr. Dr. W. Dekker, therefore, was on the Recommendation Committee."

The Eindhovens Dagblad paid a lot of attention to the photo festival. First of all, with an announcement in which Hans Zoete was mentioned as initiator and well-known gallery owner Harry Pennings as one of the members of the foundation. Then, just before the start of the photo festival, the ED issued an appendix with the complete program.

Photo Manifestation Eindhoven 1996 was smaller in scope. No catalog has been published. "Roger Ballen had a large solo exhibition in the Town Hall," says Hans Zoete. He showed 80 portraits of impoverished South African whites from the ‘Platteland’ (Countryside) series. Also on show, the exhibition 'Reminiscences', with photographs by Dörte Eisssfeld, Paul den Hollander, Thomas Lenden, Frans van Lent and Gert-Jan Rooij.


In 1998 the theme of Photo Manifestation Eindhoven was ‘A world imagined’. And a catalog had appeared this time.

"Harry Pennings was curator of the main exhibition, ‘Public-Private’. This was on show in the former building of the Academy for Industrial Design on the Elzentlaan.” Private snapshots by famous photographers Woud Berger & Noor Damen, Hans Biezen, Diana Blok, Elspeth Diederix, Winfred Evers, Dolf Kruger & Suze Henriët , Erwin Olaf, Shinkichi Tajiri, Ulay and JCJ van der Heijden were shown.

Harry knew all these photographers personally and he was therefore the right person to approach them. "Harry Pennings was our gentleman, our voice. He got along well with important people and brought all well-known photographers to Eindhoven."

He also had organized the ‘Public-Private’ forum discussion on voyeurism and exhibitionism in photography. In the supplement to the Eindhovens Dagblad, which was entirely devoted to Photo Manifestation Eindhoven, Harry Pennings explained the reason for this discussion. “To my opinion a photo event should not just be a huge pile of photos. You can find this everywhere these days. More importantly, photographers, artists and other interested parties also meet and talk about the role and meaning of photos in our lives.” (Interview by Angelique Spaninks, ED May 9, 1998). (see also blog 2)

"However, the day before his son Jérôme died in an accident, which prevented him from attending the forum discussion," says Hans Zoete.

During this photo festival of 1998, Galerie Pennings hosted a solo exhibition by Dolf Kruger. Kruger had compiled and printed a photo album via the PC and had also released it on CD-ROM.

Family pictures by Dolf Kruger, from the catalog Foto Manifestatie Eindhoven 1998. The exhibition of Dolf Kruger was on show at Galerie Pennings.

Other exhibitions were on show at 14 locations, including Museum Kempenland, City Hall, CKE and De Krabbedans and also on billboards outside. Museum Kempenland showed the exhibition ‘Cityscapes’, with photos by, among others, Korrie Besems, Luuk Kramer and Jannes Linders.

The City Hall featured work by Bruce Gilden, who joined the Magnum photo agency in 1998, and Wolfgang Zurborns. Both had been commissioned by ‘La Mission Photographique Transmanche’ to document the changes in the northern French countryside as a result of the construction of the Tunnel.

In 2000 the theme was ‘Sport’. Unfortunately, no publication has been published for this edition. For the Kempenland Museum, Hans Zoete had organized the ‘Dutch Fields’ exhibition by Hans van der Meer.

Photos by sports photographer Han Heus were shown in the Stadsschouwburg (now called Parktheater). And work by Eindhoven photographer John Claessens was shown at Plaza Futura, where also films were shown. And photos of sporting children from Fotopersbureau Van den Meulenhof were presented on billboards outside.

After 2000, the foundation Foto Manifestatie Eindhoven was dissolved. Years later, the amount of 3000 guilders that was still in cash, was donated to Stichting Fotografie Zuid Nederland ( Hans Zoete remained involved with Galerie Pennings via in making proposals for lectures.

Click here for information about Hans Zoete.

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