Artist and photographer Eric Lafforgue is one of the very few that have had a chance to visit and document what North Korea is really like. “Since 2008, I have ventured to North Korea six times,” he said. “Thanks to digital memory cards, I was able to save photos that I was forbidden to take or was told to delete by the minders.”
“They didn’t allow me to take pictures of the police, the army, etc. But with a 300mm zoom lens and a seat in the back of the bus I could take so many…” He shot thousands of pictures, showing citizens and government officials going about their everyday lives. “As soon as they were opening a new area to visit I tried to go and see it, documenting the place.”
Here are some of those photos. Comment on your favorites.
1 The Officials Took Issue With This Photo For Two Reasons: 1) The Teen Has His Cap Worn In A Strange Way (According To My Guide), And 2) There Are Soldiers In The Back
2 It Is Forbidden To Take Pictures Of The Daily Life Of The North Korean People If They Are Not Well Dressed. For My Guide This Man Was Not Well Dressed Enough To Be Photographed
3 A Rare Example Of An Undisciplined Kid In North Korea. The Bus Was Driving In The Small Roads Of Samijyon In The North, When This Kid Stood In The Middle Of The Road
4 The Way You Dress Is Very Important In North Korea. In Town, You’ll Never Find Anybody Dressed Poorly. On This Day, Students Were Dancing In A Park. When I Asked To Take A Picture, The Girl Asked The Man To Straighten His Shirt
5 When Visiting The Delphinium In Pyongyang, You Can Photograph The Animals, But Not The Soldiers Who Make Up 99% Of The Crowd
6 A Woman Standing In The Middle Of A Crowd Of Soldiers. This Picture Is Not Supposed To Be Taken As Officials Do Not Allow Army Pictures
7 It Is Forbidden To Photograph Malnutrition
8 When You Sleep In Kaesong, Near The Dmz, You Are Locked In An Hotel Complex Composed Of Old Houses. It Allows The Guides To Say “Why Do You Want To Go Outside? It’s The Same As In The Hotel.” No, It’s Not
9 Pyongyang Is Supposed To Be The Showcase Of North Korea, So Building Exteriors Are Carefully Maintained. When You Get A Rare Chance To Look Inside, The Bleak Truth Becomes Apparent
10 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!