local heroes: ed and zoe

The subjects of this series are Ed and Zoe, who live near me in Zaandam.


Ed is very social: he loves people, especially women. He’s a charmer. Valentine’s Day is his favourite day of the year, even before Christmas. He’s done a lot of different work, but had trouble with some of his co-workers and bosses. He talked too much, they said, never could keep quiet. Finally, he decided to quit working for the boss and stayed at home, where he still is. He helps people where he can, spends time with Zoe and his birds and rides his bicycle a few times a week.


Ed was a serious drinker in his youth, when he ran an illegal discotheque at the harbour. His doctor told him to give up booze, and he mostly has. Nowadays, when he drinks a few beers, he’s seriously hungover the next day, so I felt with him after this shoot was over.


Zoe has been a stabilizing influence on his life since in the decades since, they met in Belgium. She works as a volunteer in the laundry of a local retirement home. She’d prefer to work in the kitchen, but her arthritis doesn’t allow her to stand for too long. Every year, before the Christmas season begins, she hand-makes Christmas cards. This year she was running late and still working on them when I visited.


They’ll skip the New Year parties this year, as Zoe has a check-up for her cardiac perforation on the second of January.


The big party begins on the third, for them!