North Korea is an isolated strange country. And no outsider was supposed to take photos of the communist nation. But a brave photographer named Eric Lafforgue took his chance, and managed to photograph and smuggle out images he’s forbidden to take.
It was a dangerous thing to do. But thanks to Eric, we now have these eye-opening photos of the eccentric country.
“This soldier was sleeping in a field. This picture really contributed to me getting banned from the country,” Eric said.
These photos are some of the most honest ones that really depict the life in North Korea.
Life outside Pyongyang and the main towns, according to Eric, was really tough for the locals.
The town that Eric visited was so isolated they’d never seen a mobile phone.
Though life is tough in the country…
People said that they love their dear leader.
Most of the villagers spent their days farming, or fishing and growing seaweed.
Though a sight like this is common in other countries, North Korean leaders don’t want tourists to take a photograph.
“On the day of the Kimjongilia festival, thousands of North Koreans must queue up to visit various monuments.”
Since appearances are very important for North Korea, they carefully maintained their building exteriors. But inside the building is a different story.
This is a main avenue in Pyongyang where it’s common to see some kids playing in the middle. Most of them are still getting accustomed to seeing cars.
“One night, on the way back to the hotel my bus had to take an alternate route due to street closures. As we passed by old buildings, the guides asked me not to shoot with flash. The official reason was to avoid scaring people.”
Eric visited a rural home which he said is carefully selected by the government.
North Koreans must have a permit to go from one place to another. It’s also common to see soldiers hitchhiking on the highways.
This car belongs to a Pyongyang elite. It’s not only forbidden to show poverty in North Korea, but also displaying wealth.
You’re not allowed to take a picture of soldiers relaxing.
Or photograph malnutrition.
Only the elite can shop here. This is one of the two supermarkets in Pyongyang.
The country has low safety standards.
You can photograph animals. But not the soldiers who are 99% of the crowd.
Eric was asked to delete this picture of a mother and child resting. He didn’t know why.
This isn’t supposed to happen: a broom on the base of Kim Il Sung’s statue.
They’ll get furious if you take a picture of this.
“When you visit families, the guides love it if you take pics to show the world that kids have computers. But when they see there is no electricity, then they ask you to delete.”
Taking a picture of the Kim statues from the back is strongly forbidden.
“Queuing is a national sport for North Koreans.”
These soldiers help the bus get started.
Pictured below is the art centre of Pyongyang. When they experience a power outage, which is a daily event that they hate to show, they’ll blame the Americans for it.
(H/T to News.Com.Au)
Eric Lafforgue wanted to show the world that North Koreans are just like us. They’re not robots. They are humans who also suffer.
“I was banned after my last trip in September 2012 when I published some photos on the web. The North Koreans saw them and asked me to delete them as they judged them too offensive. I refused as I thought it was unfair not to show the reality of the country,” Eric said.