For several years now, French photographer Réhahn travelled across Việt Nam and took beautiful pictures. Réhahn’s own journey of the Hidden Smile Project started by accident in the summer of 2011 in Hội An, central Việt Nam when he met Mrs. Bùi Thị Xong, a 74 year old lady who features on the cover of Réhahn first successful book called “Vietnam, Mosaic of contrasts” and now in the “Hidden smile”. During his photographic explorations, he met this lovely old lady while walking along the riverside and, instinctively drawn to her, hopped onto her boat. Madam Xong, as she’s affectionately called by Réhahn is a sampan boat owner whose present day job is to ferry tourists along the waterways of her hometown, Hội An. She was very warm and welcoming towards him. He asked her if he could take her portrait. With a shy response, she awkwardly obliged and after seeing her own photo, started giggling and covered her smile with one hand. This action inspired Réhahn to take another picture of her in this pose and then she covered her mouth with one hand and her forehead with the other pretending to hide. 

    Framing her eyes to do the smiling, the birth of the Hidden Smile Project began. At that moment neither of them realized that this photo would later become one of the most iconic photos in Việt Nam and now the world. Her expression was so intriguing and inspiring to him. Even though her smile is hidden, there’s so much written on her face. It turns out that covering your mouth as you smiled is a common action for the elders in Việt Nam, especially among females.




    Published 16/08/2017 Viewed 727 Category FACES
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