A Tourist’s North Korea: candid photos from inside #NorthKorea

Visiting North Korea is an experience unlike living there. Groups of tourists are let in only under a strictly scheduled itinerary, with tour guides that double as handlers. You are not allowed out of their sight, and they reserve the right to prevent you from taking photos they deem inappropriate. Spectacles are set up for the tourists, which they are encouraged to photograph.


The Mass Games in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo by Sam Gellman.

Travel photographer Sam Gellman was required to go to the Mass Games while visiting Pyongyang, not only to showcase their excellent skill sets, but also to promote the idea of the group over the individual. His photos are spectacular, but the guides were less happy with him taking pictures of everyday life. “The guides really wanted us to have a good time, but it got weird if we had our cameras out for too long,” Gellman said in an interview with Wired. Check out some of his photos, and go to his Flickr account if you like what you see!


The billboards are made up of “pixels” held by thousands of children who switch them in unison. Photo by Sam Gellman.


Daily life in Pyongyang, North Korea’s wealthiest city. Photo by Sam Gellman.


Children playing in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo by Sam Gellman.


A Soldier having fun during a street fair in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo by Sam Gellman.


A billboard of Kim Il-Sun overlooking city streets in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo by Sam Gellman.


A young boy and his father at the park. Photo by Sam Gellman.

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