Photographer Eric Lafforgue is one of the very lucky few that have had a chance to see 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."


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He's actually a regular Bored Panda user who is responsible for some of the most popular posts on our website, for example 'Highway To Yell In North Korea Which I Captured During The Last Trip' and 'I Introduced Polaroid To North Korea, And It Made People Open Up And Tell Their Stories.'

Lafforgue wasn't interested in the carefully orchestrated tourist trips to the mysterious country, revealing only its facade. He wanted to go beyond that, to catch a domestic glimpse of the land and people that aren't under the complete control of the regime. "I was treated like any other tourist," Eric told Bored Panda. "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."

After Lafforgue came back from his 6th trip to North Korea in 2012, however, the government discovered him sharing secretly taken photos online. They demanded him to take down the images. "I refused as I show all the aspects of North Korea: the good and the bad. Just like I do with any country I visit. I refused to make an exception for North Korea and they did't like this." Soon, the regime banned Lafforgue from crossing its border ever again.

"During homestay meals in the countryside, I could speak with the locals for hours, thanks to my guides. They told me so much about how they live, what they dream of, and so on. 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."

Updated: our video team has gathered more information on those images and contacted Eric for additional footage. Check our video for more information.

More info: ericlafforgue.com | Instagram

#1 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

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

Eric Lafforgue Report

Molly Block 9 months ago

Like a lotus flower blooming in a sea of green leaves...

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#2 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!

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!

Eric Lafforgue Report

Daniel Losinger 9 months ago

North Korea is so advanced they have computers that don't need electricity.

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#3 Soldiers Often Help On Local Farms

Soldiers Often Help On Local Farms

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Wanda Queen 9 months ago

He's just a boy. :(

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#4 This Kind Of Picture Is Widespread In The West. The Caption Often Explains That North Koreans Eat Grass From The Park. The Guides Get Furious If You Take It

This Kind Of Picture Is Widespread In The West. The Caption Often Explains That North Koreans Eat Grass From The Park. The Guides Get Furious If You Take It

Eric Lafforgue Report

Molly Block 9 months ago

I have also read many times that on Sundays, most people must 'volunteer' to work, even if they want to sleep in, and this could mean "mowing" the grass in public areas, using their hands, because there is NO gas for lawnmowers. There are no lawnmowers.... so they do it by hand.

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#5 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

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

Eric Lafforgue Report

Saint Victoria 9 months ago

reminds me of the man in the white shirt that stood in front of a line of tanks near the Tiananmen Square

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#6 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

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

Eric Lafforgue Report

Fin_Leigh 9 months ago

Nice pic ♥ love their expressions

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#7 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

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

Eric Lafforgue Report

Molly Block 9 months ago

Lots of room to play kickball...............IF they HAD a ball.............

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#8 Pyongyang’s Subway System Is The Deepest In The World As It Doubles As A Bomb Shelter. Someone Saw Me Taking This Picture And Told Me To Delete It Since It Included The Tunnel

Pyongyang’s Subway System Is The Deepest In The World As It Doubles As A Bomb Shelter. Someone Saw Me Taking This Picture And Told Me To Delete It Since It Included The Tunnel

Eric Lafforgue Report

Olivia W 9 months ago

I don't understand why this photo would be illegal. It looks perfectly fine and nothing too.. well.. North Korean.

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#9 Perhaps The Most Ridiculous Prohibition I Faced: This Official Painter Was Working On A New Mural In Chilbo. I Took The Picture, And Everybody Started Yelling At Me. Since The Painting Was Unfinished, I Couldn’t Take The Picture

Perhaps The Most Ridiculous Prohibition I Faced: This Official Painter Was Working On A New Mural In Chilbo. I Took The Picture, And Everybody Started Yelling At Me. Since The Painting Was Unfinished, I Couldn’t Take The Picture

Eric Lafforgue Report

Ladies and Gentlemen 9 months ago

Yes, its a ridiculous prohibition, 100% agree.

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#10 It Is Forbidden To Photograph Malnutrition

It Is Forbidden To Photograph Malnutrition

Eric Lafforgue Report

Ladies and Gentlemen 9 months ago

Even in malnutrition, he is wearing military cap and pin-button of his supreme leader.

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