North Korea Doesn’t Want The World to See These Photos. If You Share Them, They’d Be Really Furious.

Rare Collection | August 4, 2015

North Korea is a strange, isolated country. And outsiders weren't supposed to take photos of the communist nation. But a brave photographer, Eric Lafforgue, took his chance, and managed to snap some shots and smuggle out images he’s forbidden to take.

It was a dangerous thing to do. But thanks to Eric, we now have these eye-opening and very rare photos of North Korea.

"This soldier was sleeping in a field. This picture really contributed to me getting banned from the country," Eric said.


Eric Lafforgue

These images are some of the most honest ones that really show us what life in North Korea is like.


Eric Lafforgue

Life outside the country's capital, Pyongyang, and the major towns, according to Eric, was very tough for the locals.


Eric Lafforgue

The town that Eric visited was so isolated they’d never seen a sinle mobile phone.


Eric Lafforgue

Although life is tough in the country...


Eric Lafforgue

People said that they really love their dear leader.


Eric Lafforgue

Most of the local villagers spent their days farming, or fishing and growing seaweed.


Eric Lafforgue

Although a sight like this is common in other developing countries, North Korean leaders don't want tourists to take snap photos of them.


Eric Lafforgue

"On the day of the Kimjongilia festival, thousands of North Koreans must queue up to visit various monuments."


Eric Lafforgue

Since appearances are very important for North Korea, they carefully maintain their building exteriors. But inside the building, it's a totally different story.


Eric Lafforgue

This is a main avenue in Pyongyang where it’s very common to see kids playing in the middle of the street. Most of them are still getting used to seeing cars.


Eric Lafforgue

"One night, on the way back to the hotel my bus had to take an alternate route due to street closures. As we passed by old buildings, the guides asked me not to shoot with flash. The official reason was to avoid scaring people."


Eric Lafforgue

Eric visited a nice rural home which he said is carefully picked by the government.


Eric Lafforgue

North Koreans must secure a permit to be able to go from one place to another. Soldiers hitchhiking on the highways is also a common sight.


Eric Lafforgue

This car is owned by a Pyongyang elite. Showing poverty and displaying wealth is forbidden by the North Korean government.


Eric Lafforgue

You’re not allowed to take a photo of soldiers relaxing.


Eric Lafforgue

Or photograph malnutrition.


Eric Lafforgue

One of the two supermarkets in Pyongyang. Only the elite are allowed to shop here.


Eric Lafforgue

The country has very low safety standards.


Eric Lafforgue

You may photograph animals. Just not the soldiers who are 99% of the crowd.


Eric Lafforgue

Eric was asked to delete this photo of a mother and child resting. He has know idea why.


Eric Lafforgue

This isn't supposed to happen: a broom on the base of Kim Il Sung’s statue.


Eric Lafforgue

They’ll get furious if you take a photo of this.


Eric Lafforgue

"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

Taking a picture of the Kim statues from the back is forbidden.


Eric Lafforgue

"Queuing is a national sport for North Koreans."


Eric Lafforgue

Soldiers help the bus get started.


Eric Lafforgue

Pictured below is the art center of Pyongyang. When they have a power outage, which is a daily event that they hate to show, they’ll blame the Americans for it.


Eric Lafforgue

(H/T to Atchuup)

Photographer Eric Lafforgue wanted to show the world that North Koreans are just like us. They are humans who also suffer.

I was banned after my last trip in September 2012 when I published some photos on the web. The North Koreans saw them and asked me to delete them as they judged them too offensive. I refused as I thought it was unfair not to show the reality of the country,” Eric said.

Tags: photos of north korea by eric lafforgue

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