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Vietnam through photos of Rehahn Croquevielle

Fri, 19 Sep 2014 . Last updated Tue, 17 Mar 2015 16:58

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Through the photos about Vietnam of Rehahn, whether you are Vietnamese people or foreigners who have not come to Vietnam before, you will get the special and unique prospect on how Vietnamese people are especially the smile and eyes.

In September 2013, Rehahn Croquevielle went to North of Vietnam by motorbike for 15 days. He left from Hanoi to go to Bac Son, Ba Be Lake, Dong Van, Ha Giang, Sapa and Mu Cang Chai. Fifteen days to visit more 40 villages of minorities and to travel 2.190 kilometers. He was invited into many houses to eat with the local people. Children, old people and landscapes all were amazing. From sunrise to sunset, he was taking photos all days unless he was driving. He went to famous market of Dong Van and took more 1000 photos in a couple of hour. He met black Lo Lo, H’mong, Tay and Nung ethnic minorities. All of them have their own cultures and their own colors. It is paradise for photographer. At the end of the trip, he came back with a treasure of 5600 photos.

Rehahn is a self-taught photographer, coming from Normandy in France. His 56000 photos from that trip is only a slice in a numerous treasure and collection of over 40.000 photos that Rehahn has taken in Vietnam in the past 7 years of travelling and also photographing Vietnam. All of these photos provide wonderful prospect and a new look into the life and at the people of Vietnam.

Rehahn’s connection to Vietnam started many years ago when he was a volunteer for Enfants du Vietnam, a French organization. They worked to support needy children in Vietnam. In 2007, he came to the old town of Hoi An in the central province of Qang Nam to visit two fatherless girls who he was sponsoring. Four years later, he moved to Hoi An, leaving behind the print company in France. In Hoi An, he now runs an ice cream bar with one of his Vietnamese friend. But he still spends lot of time riding on his motorbike around the country and searching the unique faces to photograph. His photo collection about Vietnam will be also exhibited in France, Italy, Canada and Ireland later in 2014.

“Vietnam-mosaic of contrast” was released on January 15th this year. Eight months since its publication, more than 1200 copies of the book have sold in 27 countries worldwide. The one-hundred-forty- page book is divided into 4 chapters including childhood, elderly, lifestyle and landscape. It has been public in French and in English. The shot “smoking time” is among the few favorite photos in the National Geographic Magazine marked with editor’s note.  Senior photo editor, Sadie Quarrier wrote: “Gorgeous portrait. I love the smoke, light and his expression. Nicely done”. “Smoking time” is one of 145 photos chosen for the book from Rehahn tens of thousands photos of Vietnam.

The selection process was the most difficult part. It took him 2 months. Different faces and moves of Vietnamese children and elder captured by Rehahn were showed at exhibition in title “Visages” in downtown Hanoi in May. Some of the photos can be found in his first book and some has been selected from his collection that has expanded over 40.000 photos at that time. According to Rehahn, each of photos he takes has a background story.

Travelling is an indispensable part of Rehahn life in Vietnam. He takes time to travel throughout the country from North to South, including big cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and of course the farther land area. The moments and visages he has been capturing across the country formed the colorful mosaic of Vietnam in his eyes. Among the photos of Ryhahn published on National Geographic Magazine, the photo of Mrs. Xong is the most favorite photo with nearly 1000 favors. Mrs. Xong with hidden smile and wrinkles on her hands and face are the elements make the photo unique. 

During the Rehahn’s time in the northern region, he had a chance to meet two men who are the owners of most magnificent beard in Ninh Binh province. One year after first meeting them, Rehahn finally got the chance to bring two brothers together for a photo shot. After being uploaded to the National Geographic website, the photo of the two brothers shot to the top twelve among thousands of subscribed on that day.

For Rehahn, Vietnam is his new home. Therefore he has planned to publish 2 more books about Vietnam. One book is about children with some stories about the photos. At the same time, he wants to publish a book about old people with some words about what he thinks about old people in Vietnam and their life in general. He is working a long project about “Vietnam on the sky”. Because it is a long project, so he would like to take photo in 15 cities in Vietnam such as Halong Bay, Mu Cang Chai, Sapa, Bac Ha, Dien Bien Phu, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and so on. At the same time, he also will organize the new exhibition around Hoan Kiem Lake. This is a chance to introduce Vietnam for foreigners and Vietnamese people, because most of Vietnamese people did not have the chance to go to Mu Cang Chai. Through his photos, people can discover our country.


Source:  VTV4 –

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