Photography fans are offered a chance to both keep up with the Western art of photography and have a glimpse of 22 cities around the world at a unique exhibition in downtown Hanoi.

Titled ‘The City: Becoming and Decaying’, the exhibition features more than 170 pictures by 18 photographers from the German Ostkreuz agency.

"More than half of mankind is living in cities, and each day thousands of people around the world are leaving their village in the countryside and moving to the city – seeking a better life, security, freedom and prosperity," said Almuth Meyer-Zollitsch, director of the institute.

"The 18 German photographers set out from Berlin to explore urban realities throughout the world: How are people living in Tokyo or in Lagos? What is behind the artificial paradise of the gigantic shopping malls in Dubai – and of what kind is the future of the kids playing in the ruins of their home destroyed by bombs in Gaza, Palestine ?"

The exhibition showcases new cities, emerging from the desert, like the Ordos in China – and other cities that seem to be dying, like Detroit in the US, after the collapse of the automobile industry, becoming almost a ghost city.

"The exhibition is like a kaleidoscope, offering impressive portraits of the cities and dwellers," said 60-year-old viewer Nguyen Thanh An. "Each photographer has his own way to feature an image.

"I like the series ‘Monalisas of the Suburbs’ by Ute and Werner Mahler," he said. "The couple chose to portray young women from four suburbs. Their facial expressions, eyes, clothes, gestures and even background scenes represent a changing society."

The exhibition is open at the Vietnam Museum of Fine Arts, 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street and the Goethe Institute, 56-58 on the same street, till September 14.

Two photographers in the project, Jorg Bruggemann and Ute Mahler, will give a talk on new photography in Germany tonight at 7pm.

They will also conduct a workshop titled ‘Portrait- Staging and Observation: Humankind in its Environment’ to Vietnamese photographers and students on September 3-7.

Both talk and workshop, which will take place at the Goethe Institute, will be conducted in German and Vietnamese.

Ostkreuz is the most renowned German photo agency. Founded in East Berlin following the example of "Magnum", it is associated with the most important contemporary German photographers.

The exhibition, which has been on an international tour since 2010, is held to celebrate the agency's 20th anniversary.-VNA