Emilia Krywko Google+ Réhahn - the French photographer in love with Vietnam | wietnam.info - blog o Wietnamie

6 sie 2014

Réhahn - the French photographer in love with Vietnam

After years of colonisation followed by a period of wars, peace finally arrived. And so did many people, who initially came to Vietnam just to see the top spots like Ha Long Bay or Hue Citadel. Among them was a man, who he fell in love with the country and decided to stay longer. He got seriously infatuated with Vietnamese people to the point that he has been travelling all over the country for 7 years. Just to know it better. What's in there for us? Réhahn is a photographer, an excellent one. We can not only admire his works, but also learn from his experiences.

How would you describe Vietnam in one sentence?

Smile is the key to open every door.

Working children on the road to go to Bac Ha

You came to Vietnam in 2007 with a non-profit organization. What exactly were you doing at that time? Did that influence your future feelings for the country?

I first came to Vietnam to meet 2 young sisters I was sponsoring with a French Non-profit Organization (ENFANTS DU VIETNAM). I gave money every month for them and one day I decided to come to visit this family. Their father died and their mother didn't have so much money to give them a normal life. I fell in love with this family and with Hoi An. My wife and me promised them to come back and we kept our promise 9 months later. After this second trip, I knew that something would change… We came every year and we decided to help other children in this area by finding sponsors. Today, this family live with us in our house. It’s a very not common story but we are a big family now!

 Hoian by Réhahn

Why did you finally decide to relocate to Hoi An? And the thing I'm personally most interested in: why Hoi An?

I love the lifestyle in this city. I live near the beach, I have my motorbike and everyday I meet nice people everywhere around. Here, it’s a kind of all year holidays! A very slow life. Nothing compares to France, where I was running all day, every day with 2 phones and thousand things to do… for nothing at the end. Here, I can be a photographer and I feel free to publish books, travel every month… perfect life! And the most important, I'm near these 2 young girls and share their daily life. They will come to visit France with me in September… As I told you, we are a family!

                        Old wise man of Ninh Bình                              Smoking time for this old woman (Hmong minorities)

Most of your works are portraits. Why do you prefer portrait over other genres of photography?

Taking a nice photo of Halong Bay is an easy thing, even with a good smartphone. But capturing a special emotion of « normal » people met in the streets is not within the reach of everyone. It’s easy to forget a nice landscape but not a nice portrait. I try to capture the soul and the moment of the model.

How do you work with your models, specifically – how do you convince people to let you take photos of them? Do you interact a lot? In what way?

In travel photography, it’s important to interact with people and to ask them permission. I hate photographers who steal a photo and run. I always try to talk with my models and sometimes the pose after the pose is the best result. It’s hard to be natural in 5 minutes, so I give them enough time! Smile and time are the secret of a nice photograph!

Do you know Vietnamese language? How do you communicate with people on your way?

Yes, I'm learning slowly but surely! Speaking Vietnamese is a key to interact with people in the remote areas. When I was in India, I found an Indian photographer to come with me. It helped me a lot to get nice photos. In my next trip to Tibet, I will post on my page and try to find a local guide or photographer.

Hidden smile - one of many!

The series: “Hidden smile in Vietnam” is just great. I've read on your website that you plan to exhibit 100 works in the end of 2014. Are any details about the exhibition already known? Do you plan to continue the project afterwards?

I already have more than 50 photos of Hidden smile. When I will reach 100, I will organize an exhibition to promote this unique feature. I think I meet Hidden smile in all my journeys. I will never stop to collect them!

Rice terraces in Hoàng Su Phì

Can you tell us something more about the other project: “Vietnam from the sky”. It differs from most of your up-to-date portfolio…

I'm working with a Vietnamese team on this project. It will take a long time but I will photograph all the nicest cities of Vietnam with a drone... Vietnam from the sky will show another view of the country. I like the idea of creating something unique, where I can be the first photographer to do that. I will probably publish a new book…

Where can we see your works, outside of the internet?

I will have a big exhibition in Paris in the end of September (26th to 28th) and another one in Ho Chi Minh City in December. In 2015, I would love to participate in some events in Europe. Some of my fans contacted me to organize exhibition in Portugal and in London… Stay connected!

And the last question: How long are you planning to stay in Vietnam? Is it love forever?

Yes, I really can not imagine to leave now. I went to more than 30 countries in my life and I'm sure Vietnam is the only place suitable for me. I'm sure that I can’t live western life now.

If you want to see more great photos - visit Réhahn photography fanpage. :)

Réhahn Croquevielle – Frenchman, born 1979, connected to Vietnam since 2007, living in Hoi An since 2011. The photographer with passion. 40.000 Vietnamese themed photos taken. His first Vietnamese photography album titled “Vietnam – Mosaic of Contrasts” was published in January 2014. Some of his works were presented in magazines like: The National Geography, Shoot Me, Foto Digital. For more details - visit Réhahn's website.

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