Sannes was born in Groningen in 1937 and after completing secondary school enrolled at the Academie Minerva. Photography was his passion, but the facilities to pursue this at the Academie were limited at the time. He left art school and started to earn a living from fashion photography, film and record sleeve design, but his own work continued to feature women and eroticism as the recurring theme. His unorthodox approach did not go unnoticed, and by 1965 he was regarded as one of the emerging talents. In 1964 his now famous Eye for an Eye was published, a collection of photographic nude studies as well as poems by well-known poet Hugo Claus. Shortly after, in 1967, aged 30, Sannes tragically died in a car accident.