I first went to North Korea in 2008. At this time, there were no mobile phones in the country, and the only pics people were taking were thanks to the official photographers who stood at the entrance of the main monuments to sell some photo souvenirs to visitors.


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I first thought about making Polaroids just as a kind of artistic work, to keep the dull colors of this country, but quickly I discovered this camera was the best way to make contacts with locals and to break the ice.

Every time I was taking a polaroid, I was taken another one I offered to my North Korean "model". So many times, this allowed me to see North Koreans in a very different way, and to start some conversations, through my guide, of course. Something that was not allowed in 2008.

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#1

I Introduced Polaroid In North Korea

I had the chance to meet some triplets in Nampho orphanage. There are a lot of twins and triplets in orphanages. The official reason is that parents cannot afford to raise 2 or 3 kids at same time. Some say that they represent a kind of magic for the Leaders and that the parents do not have the choice to keep them at home. I took a polaroid of the... Read More

I had the chance to meet some triplets in Nampho orphanage. There are a lot of twins and triplets in orphanages. The official reason is that parents cannot afford to raise 2 or 3 kids at same time. Some say that they represent a kind of magic for the Leaders and that the parents do not have the choice to keep them at home. I took a polaroid of the triplets and asked the orphanage director to give the picture to the parents, but I understood they were living very far away and that there were few chances they could receive the picture of their children.

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nanashi 1 month ago

beautiful children

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#2

I Introduced Polaroid In North Korea

In Pyongyang, I took the polaroids of the girls working at a restaurant, then the owner came and asked for one, in English! She was the wife of a high rank North Korean diplomat. She had lived in NYC for 2 years. She found the Americans very fat but nice people. She became very talkative as she was so happy with her picture.

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#3

I Introduced Polaroid In North Korea

Miss Kim, she was a perfect French speaking guide at the War Museum. I met her 5 times during my trips, she kept on telling me she learned French in Pyongyang university. In fact, I learned later that she spent her childhood in Algeria where her father was a diplomat. But for the propaganda it was better to say that you can learn perfect French in North Korea!

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T 1 month ago

Does this photographer realize the danger to this woman by saying she lied?

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#4

I Introduced Polaroid In North Korea

Her job is to sell some flowers that the visitors, including the tourists, will lay in front of the Leaders' statues in Mansudae hill in Pyongyang. 3 euros the flowers. As soon as you put the flowers on the monument, an old lady comes, take the flowers, and resells them!

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Supreme 1 month ago

Profit!

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#5

I Introduced Polaroid In North Korea

Every new couple comes to Mansudea hill to pay respect to the dear Leaders' statues in Pyongyang on the day of their wedding. By looking at their face, this does not look like a happy time! They are very serious. The guide told me that they were moved to visit the statue of the Leader. But after seeing their faces on Polaroids, they started to smile and even laugh, forgetting... Read More

Every new couple comes to Mansudea hill to pay respect to the dear Leaders' statues in Pyongyang on the day of their wedding. By looking at their face, this does not look like a happy time! They are very serious. The guide told me that they were moved to visit the statue of the Leader. But after seeing their faces on Polaroids, they started to smile and even laugh, forgetting the etiquette!

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Ana T. 1 month ago

well her expression said it all , in her wedding she is force to stand like an animal in a zoo disgusting. why you people still trying to make north korea as something normal??? clearly this people aren't happy because they AREN'T FREE!!

#6

I Introduced Polaroid In North Korea

On a Sunday afternoon, on the Taedong river in Pyongyang, the North Koreans come to have a BBQ or a picnic, a very different atmosphere, with lots of Soju (rice alcohol) and lots of smiles.

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lalexandra12 1 month ago

Pyongyang is a completely governmentally organized representation of North Korea, and only those deemed "healthy" looking or of a certain wealth are allowed to live in the city, and even still a select few may interact with tourists. Please, everyone read "Nothing to Envy" - it is based on direct narratives from North Koreans who were fortunate enough to be able to deflect to China/South Korea or escape. The perception visitors are allowed to see is a complete false reality, fully under the control of the government, from those living in Pyongyang, to the guides that interact with tourists. The rest of the country is in famine, trapped, and powerless in fear, it's very shocking that this has gone on for so many years. I appreciate the point of view your are capturing in your polaroids, but please be careful in perpetuating the myth that the North Korean government wishes the rest of the world to believe.

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#7

I Introduced Polaroid In North Korea

Guards inside the subway taking care of the arrivals and departures of the wagons. Usually, they act like little robots, for the Polaroids they become humans!

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#8

I Introduced Polaroid In North Korea

In the countryside: bikes and farms. No cars, nothing else.

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Bianca Cujba 1 month ago

Lovely picture. Looks like it's taken out from an old school book :)

#9

I Introduced Polaroid In North Korea

A picture taken in the countryside, as in Pyongyang, depending on the mood of the Leaders, riding a bike is not possible for women, not aesthetic. In the countryside, there is no choice to move from one point to another…

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Crystal El 1 month ago

this is fantastic m i have always thought that none is allowed in north korea how come evryone is related to a diplomat in disguise

#10

I Introduced Polaroid In North Korea

When visiting some houses, I asked the people where they wanted to stand for the picture, everybody answered: "Below the dear Leaders' portraits". Once, I had to do the Polaroid again as the Leaders portraits were cut. Unacceptable.

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Joe Dad 1 month ago

So sad. These North Koreans were so badly brainwashed.

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