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Into the deep blue

Words: Molly Headley And Réhahn
Photographs: Réhahn
Sep 17, 2019

Into the deep blue

Words: Molly Headley And Réhahn
Photographs: Réhahn
Sep 17, 2019

Travel into the northern hills of Vietnam to witness a festival of colours

French photographer Réhahn stepped behind the scenes with the H’Mông and Dao ethnic group to capture a rare glimpse of their sustainable dyeing techniques. Handcrafted hemp fabric is plunged into basins of deep blue dye, which is created by infusing liquid with the leaves of indigo plants. The process leaves the artisans with vibrantly coloured hands, culturally important textiles, and a sustainable, fair trade. Follow us as we dive deep into the blue.

A young H’Mông child smiles with pride after being caught blue-handed while playing in a vat of indigo dye. 

 


A needle is pulled through a piece of indigo- dyed hemp to create the richly embroidered garments the Dao ethnic group is globally-renowned for.

 

 
A close-up of the rich blue colour that emerges after the indigo dye has been fermented for several weeks. 

The masterful hands of a H’Mông artisan test the intensity of the dye. One hand is completely tinted in blue after a lifetime of handcrafting indigo textiles.

Ms. Ly Lo May, from the Dao ethnic group, has worked with indigo dye her whole life using the same eco - friendly processes  that have been used for centuries. This photograph is part of both Réhahn’s “Hidden Smile” and “Indigo” series.


A H’Mông woman covers her smile with a hand still tinted with the remnants of indigo dye in this photograph entitled “Hidden Smile II”.

Indigo leaves are typically soaked in a combination of water, homemade alcohol and lye (an alkaline solution). The leaves are stirred periodically until a fermented blue emerges.

Indigo is as culturally significant for tribes such as the H’Mông and the Dao as henna is in India. The deep blue of this woman’s fingers and her decorative tattoos are marks of her living heritage.

Each ethnic group in Vietnam can be differentiated by diverse motifs that they use to decorate their traditional costumes. The Dao embroidery is exceptionally detailed and stands out in bright beauty on a piece of indigo - dye fabric.

 

About Photographer

Réhahn is a photographer with a natural flair in capturing the souls of his models. Career hi light was having Vietnam’s Secretary of the Party, Nguyen Phu Trong, who has since become the President of Vietnam, present Réhahn’s portrait “Madam Xong” to French President Emmanuel Macron.

Réhahn has published three photobooks and founded the Precious Heritage Museum in Hoi An. His work is represented at his four COULEURS BY RÉHAHN galleries in Hoi An and Saigon.

www.rehahnphotographer.com 

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