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Photo of Vietnamese girl, elephant taken by French photographer on sale at $9,300

Monday, March 16, 2015, 19:05 GMT+7

A heart-warming photo which captures an ethnic minority little girl communicating with her jumbo pet is currently offered for over US$9,300 at an ongoing exhibit by a French photographer in Ho Chi Minh City. 

>> An audio version of the story is available here

The photo, which measures 150 and 100 centimeters in dimensions, depicts Kim Luan, a six-year-old M’Nong ethnic minority girl talking intimately to her pet elephant.

It is one of French photographer Rehahn C.’s most loved works.

The photo is being displayed at a free-admission exhibit called “Precious Heritage,” Rehahn’s first in Ho Chi Minh City, which is running until Saturday at Vin Gallery at 6 Le Van Mien Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2.

The famous photo is priced at VND200 million (US$9,321).

Ten percent of the revenue generated by the sale of the photo will go to Christina Noble Children's Foundation – an international non-governmental organization – to fund sustainable projects in the village where the photo was taken, local newswire VnExpress reported.

Rehahn told the newswire that he had previously taken photos of Luan, who is living in a village in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, in another circumstance.

He then returned to the village to gift the little girl and her family some money earned from selling his photo book.

To his delighted surprise, Rehahn stumbled upon Luan talking to her pet elephant in sign language.

He said he really feels blessed to take two snapshots of the “conversation” between the girl and an animal which is highly regarded in the M’Nong community’s culture.

In an article run in October last year, Daily Mail, a British newswire, accentuated Luan’s exceptional skill in taming the elephant as well as the inseparable bond the two shared.

The pair appeared totally at ease with each other, though a single move might be fatal, the newspaper wrote after publishing Rehahn’s photos which depict the two best friends together. His “Precious Heritage” exhibition is meant to showcase Vietnam's ethnic minorities and their traditional attire, culture, and infectious smiles, the event organizer said in a press release.

The displayed works are chosen from Rehahn C’s photo book “Vietnam – Mosaic of Contrasts” released last year.

The book features around 150 of the best photos out of the 30,000 Rehahn said he has taken in six years.

According to the organizer, the photographer has had numerous of his works published in world-famous magazines like National Geographic and Vogue Italy.

Late last year, he was voted #4 out of the top ten portrait photographers in the world by boredpanda.com, a worldwide art, design and photography community which has more than 1.5 million followers on Facebook.

After Ho Chi Minh City, “Precious Heritage” will bring photos of Vietnamese people to France, Toronto, San Francisco, London, and five other locations.

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