8 Amazing North Korea Photo Essays

North Korea is of course in the news a lot recently, with the recent shelling of Yeonpyeong Island and the ongoing nuclear weapon disputes. It’s a country that captures the imagination simply because we know so little about it. So we’ve decided to round up a few good photo essays giving you a glimpse into the notoriously secretive state.

1. Inside North Korea – Time Magazine

This photo essay about North Korea in Life Magazine was the most recent to catch our eyes. It is comprised of images from five different photo journalists, each of whom risked their own safety in order to get the shots (80% of which were apparently taken secretly). There are also descriptions below each shot with commentary by the photographers – be sure to read them.

Inside North Korea © Time Magazine

2. Peering into North Korea – The Big Picture

You can never say too many good things about boston.com’s The Big Picture. This essay features photos taken from across the border in China, with plenty of interesting reactions by the North Koreans: throwing rocks, pointing, smiling, etc. A must see. And lots to read in the comment section.

Peering into North Korea © The Big Picture

3. DPRK – Eric Lafforgue

This gallery features a variety of colorful and vibrant shots from across the human spectrum by from photojournalist Lafforgue; a striking contrast to the usual bleak and dismal scenes we usually see of the country, providing a human touch to the reclusive state.

DPRK © Eric Lafforgue

4. Escape from North Korea – National Geographic

This piece by Nat Geo examines the lives of those who have escaped the country, seeking a new life elsewhere. Most images take place in China, where refugees work and hide in less-than-ideal conditions en route to Southeast Asia. There is also an accompanying article worth reading.

Escape from North Korea © Chien Chi Chang

5. Inside North Korea – New York Times

Not much here in the way of descriptions, but you get some good photographs.

Inside North Korea © New York Times

6. Exposing North Korea & Rare Pictures from inside North Korea – Time

Be sure to read the accompanying article by photojournalist Tomas Van Houtryve, where he describes his experiences in the country.

Slow Day © Christopher Morris for Time

7. North Korea Photos – Trek Earth

A bit different than the other essays. Plenty to read in the descriptions below the photos.

Pyongyang Skyline © Trek Earth

8. Inside North Korea – In Focus

Swimming facility at Kim Il Sung University © AP Photo/David Guttenfelder

If you know of any other good photo essays, galleries, or slideshows about North Korea, let us know in the comments section. And if you’ve been yourself, let us know about it!

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