These secret photos of North Korea got the photographer banned from the country

Jan 8, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

These secret photos of North Korea got the photographer banned from the country

Jan 8, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Belgian photographer Eric Lafforgue travels the world and captures inspiring stories about people. In 2008, he photographed North Korea for the first time and revisited this country five more times afterward. He took photos of the lesser-known side of North Korea and managed to save the images he would otherwise be forced to delete. After the government discovered he’s been sharing the photos online, he was banned from crossing the North Korean border ever again. Still, his photos remain to witness the stories beyond the façade, and he has shared some of them with us.

“Soldiers are supposed to get a perfect attitude in public areas. But on a sunday, those ones were much more relaxed.”

As Lafforgue tells Bored Banda, he was treated like any other tourist in North Korea. They didn’t allow him to take photos of the police, the army, and some locations. “But with a 300mm zoom lens and a seat in the back of the bus I could take so many [photos]” he says.

Between 2008 and 2012, Lafforgue visited North Korea six times. After returning from his sixth trip, the government discovered that he was sharing online the photos he secretly took. The photographer says they demanded him to take the images down. He refused because he wanted to treat North Korea in his work just like he did with every other country. He wanted to show both the good and the bad sides of this country. After all, every country has them. After refusing to take the photos down, he was banned from crossing North Korean border ever again.

“A very rare picture of a wheelchair. In six trips, i saw only two of them”

During his stays, Lafforgue got to meet many locals and speak to them about their lives and dreams. He says that the main thing to know is that “North Koreans are warm people, very curious about the visitors and very generous, even though most of them own nearly nothing.”

Take a look at more Lafforgue’s photos from North Korea, along with the author’s short stories about each. Make sure to follow him on Flickr and Instagram and check out his website for more stories from all over the world.

“The rumor says the metro network can be used as a nuclear bunker, it seems to be true. As when I took this picture, a train attendant quickly came up and demanded me to to delete the picture showing the tunnel, she even took my passport number. I recovered the picture with a software once in France. “
“An occupation i saw many times during my 6 trips in North Korea: skinny soldiers collecting wood. For heating. North Korean soldiers can be seen working in fields, farms, or on construction sites in many places, far from military exercises.”
“The lack of bathroom in the exhibition is surprising. Architects may have not wished to show the sensitive sides of everyday life in North Korea, including the headache of getting water. Most of the time bathtubs in North Korea are not used to take baths but to store water.”
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
“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!”
“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.”
“As cars have become more widespread in Pyongyang, the peasants are still getting accustomed to seeing them. Kids play in the middle of the main avenues just like before when there were no cars in sight”
“When you sleep in Kaesong, near the DMZ, you are locked in a 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.”
“It is forbidden to photograph malnutrition”
“Showing poverty is forbidden, but displaying wealth is also a big taboo in North Korea. In a park on a Sunday afternoon, I found this car that belongs to one of Pyongyang’s elite. The owners were having a bbq”
“When times are hard (as they usually are here), kids can be found working for the farming collectives”
“For a long time, bans against black market sales have been strictly enforced. Grey market vendors are more common. They earn a little money selling cigarettes or sweets”
“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”
“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”
“Taking pictures in the DMZ is easy, but if you come too close to the soldiers, they stop you”
“Some carpets to dry on the banks of the Taedong River. Since there was a Kim Il Sung statue in the back, taking picture with those carpets was forbidden”
“The Pioneers camp of Wonsan is often visited by tourists to show the youth from all over the country having fun. But some children come from the countryside and are afraid to use the escalators which they’ve never seen before”
“Brand new restaurants have opened along the Taedong River in the new center of Pyongyang. Only the elite can afford to eat there for the equivalent of few euros. The sturgeon I had was actually very tasty”
“In a Christian church, this official was dozing off on a bench. You must never show the officials in a bad light”
“Something you can see often in North Korea, but still forbidden to photograph”
“Queuing is a national sport for North Koreans”
“In the art center of Pyongyang, we experienced a power outage, a daily event the North Koreans hate to show. When it happens, they tell you it’s because of the American embargo”
“This is never supposed to happen: a broom standing on the base of Kim Il Sung’s statue in Mansudae, in Pyongyang”
“It’s not a circus, they are workers in a country with low safety standards”
“It is absolutely forbidden to take a picture of the Kim statues from the back. It is considered very rude”

[via Bored Panda]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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2 responses to “These secret photos of North Korea got the photographer banned from the country”

  1. Marko Avatar
    Marko

    Great collection.

  2. stewart norton Avatar
    stewart norton

    Really nice set of images….I want to see more !