Visitors will have the opportunity to view his creations and talk to him on his popular photo collection featuring Kim Luan, a six-year-old M’Nong ethnic minority girl in the Central Highlands city of Buon Ma Thuot.
Other highlights at the event at 6 Le Van Mien Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, HCMC will be Rehahn’s renowned shots of ethnic minority people and landscapes which were published in his best-selling photography book “Vietnam-Mosaic of Contrast” and some works published in National Geographic magazine.
In a talk with The Saigon Times Daily, Rehahn, who has over 45,000 photos about local landscapes and people, said this exhibition is called Precious Heritage to show vanishing culture and at the same time rich culture of Vietnam. “For most of you, it’s an unknown Vietnam. I hope it will make you decide to explore your beautiful country.”
He came across Kim Luan while she was standing in front of an elephant without showing fear during his trip to Buon Ma Thuot last year. Such an amazing scene led him to take photos of her with that elephant.
“I approached her slowly, walking in the mud, and took two different photos. When she saw me, she came nearer the elephant, hiding herself behind him. I had few more seconds to take photos and she left.”
In fact, the elephant was raised in Kim Luan’s family. This old and gentle animal is seen inseparable from Luan. M’Nong ethnic minority people have a tradition of taming elephants. This animal helps people do farm work, transport goods and build houses.
In Vietnam, tourists, including those in the country, are often interested in seeing Halong Bay, beautiful beaches in Nha Trang, and the ancient town of Hoi An, among others.
Therefore, Rehahn has tried to depict Vietnam in a different angle. During his journeys, he has witnessed so much more interesting facets of Vietnam.
“Most of the tourists I’ve met don’t know that there are 53 ethnic minorities living in Vietnam. They know only H’mong and maybe Red Dao people if they went to Sapa.”
Through his exhibition, he also wants to share his concerns about vanishing culture in the age of globalization. Recently, he has been to Dalat, Dak Nong and Quang Ngai and met Ma and Mnong people. He said some of those ethnic groups don’t even have traditional costumes for festivals anymore and that some minorities like Co Tu are a little bit more attached to their culture.
He wants people to realize that it is time to go and see these traditions before they disappear.
During his journeys across Vietnam, Rehahn saw many trees cut along the road and some areas completely flattened, especially in the Central Highlands. “I think that it’s urgent to warn and to acknowledge people about the environmental protection.”
Apart from Versailles and Toronto, Vin Gallery in HCMC’s District 2 will showcase Rehahn’s 150 x 100cm photographs printed on Kodak Endura paper. This paper has a unique metallic gloss appearance with stunning visual impact and depth. As audiences move in front of a photo, the pearly iridescence makes it appear almost 3D.
Rehahn, 36, is currently working and living in Hoi An. Vietnam is one of Rehahn’s destinations in a world tour to France, Toronto, Cuba and Poland.
More exhibitions will be confirmed in Holland, Belgium, and Portugal. Rehahn shares his plans to continue to explore Vietnam and expects to tour Mongolia and Tibet before the end of the year.