On Photography of North Korea

Mass dancing in Pyongyang - Eric LafforgueMass dancing in Pyongyang –  by Eric Lafforgue

It seems the world’s great powers cannot rid themselves of their Cold War doings. As you have undoubtebly heard, tension between North and South Korea (and the rest of the world) continues to increase, after North Korea conducted, and continues to conduct, nuclear and missile tests. North Korea has now taken things to the next level, declaring the Korean War armstice (1953) ineffective and threatening military action against South Korea.

Being a documentary photographer and having a particular interest  in areas of restricted access, I have planned to write a post about photography in North Korea for some time. Trips to North Korea are highly structured and everyone who visits it has a similar, if not identical, experience. I thus find the wide range of photography from North Korea very interesting, not only because of what it tells us of North Korea, but also of photography itself.

Here are a few links to work done in North Korea:

  • “DPRK” by travel photographer Eric Laffougue
  • “Secrets and Lies” as part of the project “Commrades Revisited” by photographer Thomas Van Houtryve
  • A discussion (video) by photographer Christopher Morris about his assignment to photograph North Korea
  • While not a photographic work, the North Korea episode of the Vice Guide To Travel, is facinating (be sure to watch all the parts)
  • Andreas Gursky also has some great images of North Korea but he doesn’t have a website so they are hard to find, here is a Google Images link

If you know of any other great photo essays or videos regarding North Korea, please let me know of them in the comments.



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2 Responses to “On Photography of North Korea”

  1. Justin Says:

    Found this a while ago on, don’t know if you saw it. It was on Diggggggg.


  2. Eugen Says:

    Thanks for the link! It’s really weird/interesting as those images are clearly from an outside perspective. There is a very restrictive and curious feeling about them.

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