The cover of French photographer Réhahn Croquevielle's photobook "Vietnam - Mosaic of Contrasts" / PHOTO COURTESY OF RÉHAHN CROQUEVIELLE
A French photographer who has spent more than two years living and traveling in Vietnam -- all the while accumulating more than 30,000 pictures of the country’s people and landscapes -- has released a collection of his best works.
Réhahn Croquevielle, 35, said the photobook, which is his first, is meant to show the world the country and people that have “fascinated” him for years.
“I have been to over 30 countries, but I chose to live in Vietnam. The people, the landscapes, the quality of life... I love everything -- or almost everything -- here.”
“I have not seen many photobooks on Vietnam. Many talk about war or food, but we do not pay enough attention to Vietnam's habitants,” the photographer, who wished to be addressed as Réhahn, said as he explained why he focused the book on people.
Entitled “Vietnam – Mosaic of Contrasts,” the book features 150 photos categorized into four themes: childhood, lifestyle, the elderly, and landscapes. Most of them were taken during Réhahn’s visits to distant and mountainous areas across Vietnam, which he paid for at his own expense.
Réhahn said that although Vietnam is like a “mosaic” whose diversity would need hundreds of books to be chronicled, he was most inspired by the poor, the elderly, children, and Vietnam’s hill tribes.
“The innocence of children has all faces, all expressions […],” while for old people, “wrinkles accentuate looks; they bear witness to the past and experience,” he said of his favorite subjects.
Réhahn’s connection to Vietnam started many years ago when he was a volunteer for Enfants du Vietnam, a French organization that works to support needy children in Vietnam.
In 2007, he came to the old town of Hoi An in the central province of Quang Nam to visit two fatherless girls whom he was sponsoring.
Four years later, he moved to Hoi An, leaving behind his printing company in France. In Hoi An he now runs an ice cream bar with one of his Vietnamese friends, but still spends lots of time riding his motorbike around the country.
Réhahn said with the success of his first book, which has sold more than 350 copies since it came out last month, he planned to publish more in the future like a sequel to Mosaic and another book entitled “Vietnam from the sky.”
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