Réhahn, born on 4 May 1979 in Bayeux in Normandy, France, is a photographer based in Hoi An, Vietnam. He travelled over 35 countries and is particularly renowned for his portraits of Vietnam, Cuba and India. Known as the photographer that “captures emotions and people souls”, he has been working towards the recognition of the heritage of Vietnam’s 54 tribes since 2011.
On 1 January 2017, he opened the Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum that showcases these ethnic groups whose traditions and heritage are dwindling.
In 2007, while travelling in Vietnam for the first time with a French NGO, he explored the country and its culture through his lens and captured more than 50,000 photographs. In 2011, he decided to move to Vietnam and settled in the UNESCO listed town of Hoi An.
January 2014, he published « Vietnam, Mosaic of contrasts », a collection of 150 photographs depicting the diversity of the country. Best-seller in Vietnam, the book is sold in 29 countries.
That same year, Réhahn took the photograph “Best Friends” where Kim Luan, a 6 year old M'nong little girl is praying in the face of an elephant. Thanks to the press agency Caters in New York, the picture is published in more than 25 countries and made the cover of prestigious magazines such as the Conde Nast Traveler, The Times and National Geographic.
In December 2014, he was ranked 4th of the top 10 best travel photographers on the website boredpanda, alongside with internationally renowned photographers. This article is translated in more than 20 languages.
In 2015, the photographs “Best Friends” and “Hidden Smile” the cover of his first book became part of the collection of the Asian House Museum in Havana, Cuba, as a result of the exhibition « Valiosa Herencia » (Precious Heritage). The following year, the portrait of Madame Xong from the “Hidden Smile”, officially entered the permanent collection of the Vietnamese Women’s Museum in Hanoi.
In November 2015, Réhahn released volume 2 of his book, « Vietnam, Mosaic of Contrasts », with 150 new pictures, inspired this time, by his journey to encounter the 54 ethnic groups of Vietnam.
January 2016, he was ranked the second most popular French photographer on the internet.
On 15 June 2016, the French travel TV program Échappées Belles (France 5), followed him and revealed his work to the French.
On 1 January 2017, he unveiled the Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum, in the town of Hoi An, as a tribute to Vietnam’s ethnic groups.
December 2017, Expanding the second part of the Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum
March 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron was presented with the portrait of Madam Xong, known as the "Hidden Smile" photo to commemorate 45 years of Friendship between
France and Vietnam.
The "Precious Heritage" Project
In 2013, while travelling to meet the tribes of northern Vietnam, he witnessed not only the diversity and the rich culture of these groups but also the fragility of their heritage. Traditional costumes, dialects, rites and ancestral knowledge are slowly disappearing.
Réhahn then started to collect traditional costumes, generally offered by the chief of the village themselves in order to preserve and present their culture. At the end of 2017, he had encountered 49 of the 54 tribes of Vietnam.
On 1 January 2017, he opened the Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum, culmination of 5 years riding through Vietnam, to document the tribes. Within 500 m2, this new cultural art space showcases more than 200 photographs, among them, a series of large sized portraits (6’5 high), 65 authentic tribal costumes along with daily life objects. Each comes with information and the stories of his encounter, translated into English, French and Vietnamese.
With an approach of intellectual curiosity and openness, the entrance of the museum is free of charge. Therefore, the photographer hopes to attract both tourists and locals to largely promote the heritage of these ethnic groups whose culture might soon be lost forever. Says the website Mr Mondialisation about the museum.
The "Giving Back" Project
Following the philosophy of his Giving Back Project, the photographer aims to make his subjects living conditions better. It started with Madam Xong, featuring on the cover of his successful first book. Réhahn offered her a new rowing boat, as expressed in her wishes, so she can keep touring tourists around. He is also supporting the education of several children he portrayed.
For him, “photographers are nothing without the people in their photos” and he hopes to create a movement among other photographers.
- Vietnam, Mosaic of contrasts, January 2014 (ISBN 978-604-936-436-5)
- Vietnam, Mosaic of contrasts, vol 2, Novembre 2015 (ISBN 978-604-86-9307-7)
- "Eyes of the World par Rehahn - L'âme à travers le regard" (in French). Retrieved 2017-01-31.
- Media, Prisma (2016-09-16). ""Un jour, le chapeau conique disparaîtra au Vietnam"". GEO.fr. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
- "Vietnamese youngster tames fully grown elephant". Mail Online. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
- "Top 10 Most Famous Portrait Photographers In The World". Bored Panda. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
- "Rehahn donates "Hidden Smile" photo to Hanoi museum - Rehahn donates "Hidden Smile" photo to Hanoi museum - News from the Saigon Times". english.thesaigontimes.vn. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
- "Le top 100 des photographes les plus populaires sur le web en 2016 | Lense". Lense (in French). 2016-03-11. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
- "Echappées Belles (France 5) - A la découverte du Vietnam, le pays du sourire". Retrieved 2017-01-31.
- "Stunning photos of the vanishing tribes of Vietnam". INSIDER. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
- "Stunning photos of the vanishing tribes of Vietnam". The Independent. 2016-08-31. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
- Mondialisation, Mr (2017-01-28). "Il photographie les ethnies du Vietnam avant leur disparition". Mr Mondialisation (in French). Retrieved 2017-01-31.
- "Giving back project by Rehahn". Réhahn Photography. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
- "Frenchman Rehahn launches "Giving Back" project". VietNam Breaking News. 2016-08-21. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
- Newspaper, Tuoi Tre. "French photographer exhibits photos of Vietnamese children". tuoitrenews.vn. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
- http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20180910-the-photos-that-change-lives September 2018
- https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/long-reads/article/2159781/haunting-portraits-vietnams-disappearing-tribes September 2018
- http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/vietnams-voelker-beten-mit-elefant-fotostrecke-163616.html September 2018
- https://www.wanderlust.co.uk/content/photo-gallery-faces-around-the-world-rehahn-vietnam-cuba-india/ September 2018
- https://www.scotsman.com/news/french-photographer-rehahn-on-the-secret-of-taking-an-evocative-image-1-4782803 September 2018
- https://www.lonelyplanet.com/news/2018/08/28/vietnam-portrait-rehahn-precious-heritage/ September 2018
- The Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum
- "Official website of Réhahn"
- "Vietnam door de ogen van een insider" , National Geographic, 10 March 2015
- "Việt Nam trong mắt nhiếp ảnh gia Pháp", BBC, Vietnam, 15 June 2015.
- "The People Behind the Places: Adventures in Vietnam", Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, 1 December 2014.
- "French artist puts on photo exhibition", The Saigon Times, 3 March 2015
- "The captivating green eyes of Rajasthan", Daily Mail, 21 May 2015
- "Sguardi e sorrisi del Vietnam: il meraviglioso mosaico di Rehahn", Repubblica, 16 March 2015