A face for Eternity


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MADRID – Ranked as one of the best photographer of his generation, Réhahn is living now in Hanoï. His work consists on taking portraits of Asian people. These portraits are often made to share those people’s emotions through their facial expressions. He kindly agreed on giving us his point of view on the Vietnam’s society.

It all begins when his wife and him decided to foster a child. When they arrived to Hanoï, they met a nine years old girl, with her older sister, with whom she was inseparable. With just their mother, taking small jobs all day long to take care of the two girls – since their father died a few years ago – Réhahn explained that he « felt immediately a real connection with the girls, despite the barrier of the language. Him and his wife felt useful knowing the hard situation they where living in ».

When Réhahn had to leave Vietnam, he realized that him and his wife had made strong bonds with the girls, and promised to come back to visit them. As promised, they came back a few times to see the girls, and one day they started realizing that they were missing something in France, and that it was time to make a change. Vietnam’s warmth was what made them decide to begin a new life in Hanoï.

« I saw my arrival to this country as a rebirth since I’m obsessed with freedom »

Réhahn built his own house with his wife near Hanoi. Former printer back in France, he decided to go in another direction by making its passion his job. It was during a trip in the North of Vietnam, that his passion as a photographer became his real job. He took more than 2 000 photos, most of them were portraits of local inhabitants.

When he came back from this trip, a journalist recommended him to make a book of its photos. Since the publishing of his book, he started to appear in a lot of TV shows. This book started its career since it was very acclaimed by the public:  « I felt the infatuation of Vietnamese for a book made by a French about their country ».

« Photography is a meeting between the photographer and the model. The one does not exist without the other one. »

He describes its photography as a mix of street photography and shooting. He tries to make the models feel comfortable by discussing with them, so that they are more at ease, so that it becomes more natural. He also adds that he « love(s) to shoot when they are embarrassed, since (he) considers that it is often the moment when they look the best ».

Réhahn has a particular way of thanking his models. He offers them presents which will be useful for them in the daily life. He bought a new boat to the old lady who is on the cover of its book for example. He paid a bike to the big sister of Anh Phuc, a girl that he met in a village in the center of the country.

« With those magnificent blue eyes, inherited from his great French grand father, it was one of the most beautiful meetings of this year. » according to the photographer.

Being a photographer can sometimes be a challenge. Réhahn learned through his experience that you can’t never expect anything in return when you do something.

When he photographed the girl praying in front of an elephant, afterward he sold to Times, to Figaro, to National Geographic as well as to Daily Mail, people often asked what was the story behind this meeting and he unfortunately had nothing to say. He thus found the girl a few years later to offer her his book and to meet her family which invited him very kindly to drink tea at their home.

« I am very touched by the positive energies which surrounds me since I arrived to Vietnam. »

Réhahn couldn’t have imagined a better way to transform his passion into work.
He still wants to continue traveling, in particular in Vietnam. He feels, today, a « public-spirited of the world. »

« I already have the impression to have carried out a dream, that is to be free. »

Now What he dreads, is not to have enough time to answer to his followers on Facebook because he adores being close to people who appreciate his work.

Rehan is the best representation of what it takes to begin a new life in an Asian country and what is like to put into photos what this planet, that we occupy offers to us and the breathtaking discoveries that need to be known by the world.

Michael Diego

Asia

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