Now, Réhahn is an unofficial cigar ambassador. He brings cigars with him on his photographic journeys, sharing and smoking–creating a “moveable feast” of cigar culture everywhere he goes. He might see someone on the street whose interesting features beg to be photographed.
Instead of just snapping away, he shares an experience and a good cigar as a way to get to know the person. This is how he came to meet some of his most iconic subjects, such as “Elva” and “Daniel.” Something about them caught his eye, and he wanted to get to know them. After a cigar and a long conversation, a friendship was born. This interaction is part of what makes it difficult to turn away from his photos. The subjects seem to step out of their frames, ensconced in smoke and their own thoughts.
Larger than life.
Interaction is an important part of the artist’s creative philosophy. “You can have the most expensive camera in the world, but unless you have a connection with the people you’re shooting, there’s no point,” he says. Far from Cuba, in Vietnam—Réhahn’s adopted home—the photographer kne
els next to a woman in her 80s. She ignites the ball of tobacco in her bamboo pipe and inhales.
There’s an intimacy in the moment, a window into an artistic process, as the photographer shows his camera and the woman laughs. Instead of taking a photo, he lights a cigar and leans back against the wall, chatting and finding common ground despite differences in language and culture. With luck, it’s a connection that will last long after their tobacco burns down to the last embers and ash.