Picturing North Korea

With recording devices (even mobile phones) banned at customs, and the staggeringly small number of people who have ever willingly traveled to North Korea, the country remains shrouded in mystery.

All visitors are carefully monitored and led by guides, who frequently speak of the country’s achievements. Great airs are put on in shockingly empty public spaces, often lavishly decorated with displays of abundance.

It is as if the entire world exists (and is scripted) for the single person currently touring it. Charlie Crane managed to get a rather surreal photo set.

The stillness and pristine order are disconcerting, like a giant movie set no one is using.

See the rest of the photo set here.

I HIGHLY recommend you watch The Vice Guide to Travel’s North Korea episode. It is on Netflix instant, or you can access it by clicking the link below.

The Vice Guide to Travel: North Korea (WATCH THIS!)

This film will blow your mind. I guarantee it. I spent a good half of it with my jaw dropped, and if you read this blog regularly you know how much it takes to shock me.


3 Responses to “Picturing North Korea”

  1. […] She Walks Softly posted some extraordinary photos, and a couple to a documentary shot secretly in North Korea. […]

  2. Hi,

    I’ve been enjoying browsing through your site. Lots of wonderful pieces of art and information.

    I visited North Korea last year and bought a copy of Charlie Crane’s photo book.

    As of last year, tourists were still banned from bringing in mobile phones, but other recording devices such as cameras are allowed. I was also allowed to bring in my computer.

    The Vice Guide to North Korea is entertaining, but it is highly exaggerated in parts. They play up the sense of danger and make it sound like they did something daring to get there, but for tourists it is really very safe. They visited the same sites as most tourists do – they even had one of the same guides that I did.

    The Pyongyang Times has wonderful headlines such as –
    Kim Jong Il Sees Light Comedy

    Have fun,

    • Anonymous Says:

      Aidan, thank you so much for your input and link. I wasn’t really buying the “danger” aspect in the Vice guide either. It wasn’t even necessary in light of how interesting the whole situation is in that part of the world.

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