TEN DAYS OF NIGHTS
«Ten Days of Nights» wants to document the Ghent Festival, an annual music and theatre festival in Kristin Van den Eede’s hometown, Ghent, Belgium. First organised in 1843, it is one of the largest cultural festivals in Europe. On top nights, more than 250,000 people are crammed into an area of about 4.5km². As a result, the city is transformed into a sea of people from all over the world, all looking to experience what makes these ten days so unique. What that is, is hard to pinpoint and is different for everyone.
To the photographer, it’s ten days of release for young and old alike, a kind of catharsis through joy and art, ten days in which the whole city just presses the pause button. For ten days, work and obligations don’t exist. There’s no such thing as responsibility or moderation. No one’s a stranger, and everyone’s a potential best friend, a brother, a sister. We all laugh and cry together, we fight and make up. We fall in love and feel lonely in the crowd, all at the same time. As she says herself, Kristin met the love of her life one night at the Ghent Festival, and she is sure she is not the only one.
When the author started documenting the Ghent Festival in 2014, she began to see it through new eyes. From then on, there were always a few nights when she went to bed early, set her alarm at 3 or 4 am and took her camera straight to the last square still open. Other nights she just did what she did every year—only this time she took photos of what moved her and tried to capture what makes these ten days so unique.
In 2020, the first year of the pandemic, the festival was cancelled for the first time in 101 years. «Ten Days of Nights» was not supposed to be finished, but perhaps it is. Only time will tell.
Kristin Van den Eede is a Belgian photographer based in Ghent, Belgium. In terms of photographic style, she has always been drawn to extraordinary lighting or striking contrasts. She particularly loves evocative scenes with a dark twist, in colour as well as black and white. Since she became ill, she had to redefine her approach to photography. In a sense, it has been a blessing in disguise—restrictions force you to step outside of your comfort zone and are a direct catalyst for growth. She started making more personal work and felt less restricted by genre definitions. Lately, she has been experimenting with landscapes and abstracts to cut through more traditional street photographs in a series. She is currently working on several projects, both black and white and colour.
Kristin Van den Eede is also a member of Observe, an international collective that focuses on but is not limited to the practice of Street Photography. She has exhibited internationally and been a guest speaker and judge at several festivals around Europe and the US. She also enjoys curating work and was a guest photographer on the sixth Eyeshot Magazine issue, “The Mirror”. She is highly inspired and motivated by other photographers and is keen on promoting the work of underrepresented groups, such as female or non-binary photographers.