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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).