Réhahn Croquevielle is world famous French travel photographer. His photos were published in National Geographic, he sells his fine arts up to 10.000 $ and stages international exhibitions around whole world. Réhan was born in Normandy in 1979 and actually lives in Vietnam – Hoi An. He is documenting by his portrait photos almost vanished cultures in Vietnam and also in other places of the whole world – e.g. India, Malaysia or Cuba. We have unique chance to ask him few questions about his life full of adventure.
We know that you have decided to abandon well paid life in France and move to Vietnam – Hoi An. Can you tell us about this life step and about your motivation to do this step?
Actually, I didn’t feel at the right place in France. I love my country but don’t like the life style, working a lot for not so many things. You work to pay expenses and you don’t have so much freedom as one can imagine. Vietnam offers a good life style. Free on my motorbike, going to work at my gallery, shooting in the remote areas… In France, if you want to open a gallery you have to be very rich and anyway you lose money, paying taxes even when you don’t sell anything!
My daily life here rhyme with freedom! I even feel that the time pass faster here. People are smiling and it’s quite safe! I think that it’s feng shui to meet happy people everyday! Vietnamese are optimistic and happy in general.
It must be some moment in your life when did you decide start photographing? What was the main reason to do this?
I like travelling and like everybody, I want to show and share. Photography is a good way to promote the beauty of a landscape or an elder Cuban lady smoking cigare. Im specialized in portraits cause I like to interact with people, Im a people person. Always talkative, my friend say!
You are exploring country by motorbike. Is this your favorite way of traveling or motorbike makes just your work easier?
Yes because again, I like the freedom. I tried few times with a guide in a car but it’s not convenient when you want to stop on the road and when you like spending time with a model. I hate people behind me looking at the time and hurry to come back. For that reason, motorbike is the best way. I usually go alone!
Could you tell us which one destination is your favorite! Is it somewhere in Vietnam or in other places in the world?
I like many places. The North of Vietnam, the old Habana and Varanasi in India. For the same reason, they are open air studio where each person is a potential model.
In my opinion, photographer is not only a person, who is taking pictures. It is also about a work before photographing. Am I true?
I can say that Im a humanist before being a photographer. I don’t really prepare my trip cause I like to be surprised. I like to wander in the villages and discover treasures. When you don’t expect anything, you always meet good moment.
As we know, Vietnam is your home now. But you are photographing in other places around the world. Do you have soma plan or to do list you write down before the whole adventure with photographing and traveling in foreign country starts?
I just prepare the city, do some research online and I follow the wind! I always book the first hotel and nothing else! Some cities I can stay 3 days If I feel good, and sometimes I just stay few hours. The most important is to know about transportation available.
Is something special in your photos you want to tell us via them? Is the story, place or moment?
Each photo has a story behind and I could tell you 1000 stories. I think a good photo tells a story by itself. I always try to capture emotion, it’s my priority!
Your job is also about experience. Could you tell us the most impressive?
Like in any job, experience comes with the time. I learn everyday and will never stop to learn. I had very incredible moment when I met the minority Mnong, living with elephant in Central Vietnam. This photo was published in more than 40 countries and what makes me happy is that I was there by chance. I found this little girl praying in front of her elephant. It was nothing but chance! Experience or knowledge can’t be all. I have a good karma!
Behind your portrait photography is always some story. Do you have one photo with the strongest story?
My favorite one is the elder lady on my book cover. She became a friend, I know her hard life and her joy to live always impress me! She lives in Hoi An, and at 78 years old, she still works every day! A portrait shows the hard life combined with her happiness. A very interesting mix!
Could you give some advice to those, who want to start photographing?
Photography must be a passion before becoming your job. It’s important to keep a distance with ego and promote the model instead of yourself. Sometimes I google a name and I find only photo of the photographer. It tells a lot about what to not do!
Sportsmen want to win Olympics, actors want to win Oscar, but what want photographers?
A nice exhibition in public places in NYC, Paris, London !!
Thanks for interview!