A photo exhibition of 22 cities from around the world, by 18 photographers from the most renowned German photo agency Ostkreuz,is taking place at Ha Noi's Fine Arts Museum and the Goethe Institute. Jorg Bruggemann, a representative from the agency, visited Viet Nam to act as a guide at the exhibition. On this occasion, he and his colleague, Ute Mahler also gave a talk on modern German photography and conducted a workshop titled Portrait - Staging and Observation: Humankind in Its Environment to photographers from Viet Nam.
Bruggemann chats with Culture Vulture
Is it your first time in Viet Nam? Do you intend to do a photo essay on Viet Nam? What impressed you most?
Yes, it's my first time here. I'd take some touristic photos. The traffic is very impressive. I think it's a good way, there's not as many traffic jams as I saw in other cities. Everything is on slow. People are going slowly. The food is very good. The heat is very impressive, I have to say. The people seem to be very friendly.
Could you tell me about your agency and the idea behind this exhibition?
Our agency is the only agency in Germany owned by photographers themselves. So we are not a simple agency, we are also a co-operative.
Each of us is busy with his own daily job. Most people are working at magazines or co-operations as well. Every three or four years we organise a group exhibition to introduce our professional photos.
In 2008, we gathered at our agency for an event and planned for an exhibition. We came up with the idea of a group exhibition. The theme City has been discussed widely in local art and even in science. And we discussed how to explore cities from new angles, bring new aspects and values, like urbanisation and architecture.
Our agency is for photography of the 20th century and we thought we'd better go out - and could rather talk about the city: how life in the city is, how people live in the city. Everyone came up with his own idea on how to express our common theme: city of the future. Sometimes people had to change after discussions. Then we ran out to take photos.
After that, we sat together and saw the pictures and discussed how to run series, each photographer runs a series, but the series should suit the overall view. We discussed which photos should be chosen for the exhibition and appear in the book for the exhibition. You can see the book at the exhibition here as well.
The only special series was the co-work by Ute Mahler and her husband Werner.
We appreciate the Goethe Institute, which helped exhibit our collection in many cities. And it's like a circle, when we took photos in different cities, in different continents, and then display our work around the world.
Could you tell me about your photo essay displayed here?
I display here some photos I took in Ushuaia, Argentina. I chose this city as it's located in the southernmost part of the world. It's in the southern tip of Argentina. Though it's a remote area, you can see everything in the world here.
As you can see in the photo of local children, the way they dress, the way they talk...They look totally like children of the same age from anywhere else in the world. They look like the Vietnamese children I saw a few days ago at Lenin Park. — VNS