Photography News Issue 61

Photography News | Issue 61 | photographynews.co.uk

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Feature

The tribes of Vietnam Travel photography Photography News catches up with acclaimed photographer

Réhahn. His latest big project is to photograph all the tribes of Vietnam

Words by Graeme Green Images by Réhahn

“The way I approach photography is through meeting people and spending time together,” says acclaimed French photographer Réhahn. “I can spend hours talking to people about their lives and culture. The more you spend time with people, the more you’re able to capture their real personality in a photograph.” Only going by his first name and often referred to as ‘the photographer who captures the soul’ of his subjects, Réhahn’s colourful, intimate portraits have earned him a huge international following, including 500,000 Facebook followers. He has published two books on Vietnam and The Collection , which contains ten years of his photography in Peru, India, Vietnam, Cuba and elsewhere. Originally from Bayeux in Normandy, France, Réhahn has lived since 2011 in the city of Hoi An, on the coast of Vietnam. He’s currently working on an ambitious project to photograph all of Vietnam’s 54 tribes. He has photographed 49 so far, with plans to visit more in 2019. This Precious Heritage project goes hand in hand with his museum in Hoi An, dedicated to Vietnam’s tribal costumes and artefacts, and other cultural museums that he funds with sales fromhis galleries. “I chose to become a photographer because I’m very curious about different kinds of cultures, ancient traditions, textiles and clothing,” Réhahn says, explaining what motivatedhimtostartworkonsuchabigproject as photographing all 54 of Vietnam’s tribal peoples. “Living in Vietnam gave me this great opportunity to start a long term project. These cultures across Vietnam are changing fast, as the internet and new technologies reaches many of these villages. As a photographer, I have the opportunity to record and document these changes. Because I live in Vietnam, I have the possibility to go almost everywhere to research them. I can stay a weekwith themand interview the chief of the village. “My initial project was to find the 54 tribes, collect their traditional costume and open a free museum to show their beauty and diversity. The museum opened on 1 January last year.” Réhahn’s seven-year (and counting) photographic journey has taken him across the country. He usually enters villages, locates the chief (often with the help of a translator) and gradually gets to know the people living there, from the Đu, the smallest ethnic group in Vietnam, to the La H , who were previously known to be skilled hunters and who have no written language. Meeting the Ro Mam was one of several standout experiences that Réhahn remembers with affection. “I waited three years for authorization to photograph them. They only have 12 traditional costumes left. I was

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