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French photographer donates iconic work to Vietnam museum

Wednesday, March 02, 2016, 16:13 GMT+7
French photographer donates iconic work to Vietnam museum
The portrait of Bui Thi Xong taken by Rehahn

The French photographer who currently bases himself in the central town of Hoi An has recently donated his popular photo capturing an old Vietnamese lady to the Vietnamese Women’s Museum in Hanoi.

The photo of 78-year-old boat rower Bui Thi Xong in Hoi An is one of the first that Rehahn captured for his photo project called ‘Hidden Smile.’

The picture, which is one of his most well-known photos, was also chosen to be the cover of the first volume of his book, ‘Vietnam – Mosaic of Contrasts,’ released in 2014.

According to the photographer, the photo will enter the museum on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, March 8.

With the participation of the French Embassy, the donation of the 80x120cm photo is also to respect the long-term friendship between France and Vietnam, Rehahn said in a press release on Monday.

This event is at the same time intended to honor the hidden beauty and grace of Vietnamese women, with Rehahn's photo representing their timeless charm, depicted in the most unpretentious way.

A ceremony will be held at the museum on March 8 with the participation of Rehahn, Xong, and representatives from the museum and French embassy.

With obvious happiness, the 36-year-old photographer from Normandy called it a big event in his life when a work of his is shown at a Vietnamese museum.


Rehahn and Bui Thi Xong

Rehahn said that Xong is one of his most special and closest ‘models,’ and her portrait has appeared in multiple international publications such as National Geographic, The Los Angeles Times and Daily Mail, not to mention local media.

Last June, Xong’s photo was among two pictures by Rehahn which were added to the collection of the Asian Museum of La Habana, Cuba.

A few months later, posted an entry introducing the portrait of Xong which quickly received 6,500 likes from netizens.

“Mrs. Xong represents Vietnam in my eyes,” Rehahn told Tuoi Tre News. “Strong, charming, and always happy despite her age and living circumstances.”

“She is the grandmother and mother of all Vietnamese,” he added.

After more than five years living in Vietnam, the photographer has traveled to many places by motorbike and taken over 50,000 photos of the country and its people.

He has also published several books about Vietnam, including two volumes of ‘Vietnam – Mosaic of Contrasts’ and multiple photo projects.

Below are several photos from Rehahn's 'Hidden Smile' project:











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