(VNF) - An overseas Vietnamese living in Australia has purchased the printed version of the photo titled “World’s most beautiful old woman” by French photographer Réhahn Croquevielle for USD 30,000, according to the photographer.
The first copy of “Hidden Smile”, a photo by a famous French photographer based in Hoi An Ancient Town, Réhahn Croquevielle, has been sold at USD 30,000. (Photo: rehahnphotographer.com)
The photo belongs to Croquevielle’s project “Hidden smile” in 2014, which features an old woman named Xong (aged 80), a boat rower on the Hoai River in Hoi An city of central Quang Nam province.
“When I looked at the Madam Xong photograph, I saw so much more than just the subject. Every wrinkle, every crease, not a blemish but a story of a life earned. A life lived. Devotion, work ethic and yet so much incredible warmth in her eyes,” said the buyer, Cong Nguyen.
“I didn’t choose this photo. It chose me. I do not own it. I am proud and honoured to be its temporary guardian,” he added.
As revealed by the photographer, unlike his other 100x150cm photos, which normally have 15 copies printed in metallic papers in France, Hidden Smile has only three copies.
All the money from the sale of the first copy will be donated to the construction of the museum of Co Tu ethnic people’s culture in Tay Giang District in the central province of Quang Nam, which is expected to be completed later this year.
The donation is part of Réhahn’s Giving Back Project, which is designed to improve the lives of the characters in his photos, who are from the poor, rural areas of Vietnam.
The second copy of Hidden Smile is being put up for sale at USD 50,000.
A printed version of the photo was previously sold for USD 10,000 during one of Croquevielle’s exhibitions in Ho Chi Minh City in June 2017. Part of the proceeds were given to Xong each month as part of the artist’s efforts to support Vietnamese disadvantaged children, old people and ethnic minorities.
Earlier, in 2015, Réhahn’s other photo, capturing an ethnic girl communicating with an old elephant in the Central Highlands, was sold at EUR 10,000 (USD 12,000) during one of his solo exhibitions in France.
French photographer Réhahn Croquevielle (R) with Madam Xong, the model of his photo titled “World’s most beautiful old woman”. (Photo: rehahnphotographer.com)
Madam Xong, as she is respectfully called by Réhahn, has since become the most famous woman in Vietnam, featuring in more than 200 published articles, worldwide. Her face is now the most recognised face in Vietnam and in some parts of the world.
This iconic photo also features in the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, representing the strength, kindness and hard work of the women of Vietnam./.