Uncensored Photos Of North Korea Through Instagram: A Rare Look Into The DPRK

on November 05 2013 10:27 AM

Outsiders have rarely had any kind of window into the daily lives of North Koreans. But now, with the help of social media, a newly established 3G network, and some adventurous travelers, the public can get a candid glimpse into everyday life in the enigmatic country.

The social media photo application Instagram has allowed people to connect to all corners of the world -- and now North Korea is one of them. While most official photos and all news is vetted by the government, photos taken on Instagram by foreigners traveling in North Korea allow for an uncensored peek behind the borders.

Most famously, David Guttenfelder, the Associated Press’ chief Asia photographer, one of the few media people allowed into the country legally and regularly, has blazed a trail for North Korea Instagrams. His photos, featured most recently on Wired, catch a mix of official events at Pyongyang landmarks and scenes of working-class people just living their lives.

David Guttenfelder Instagram North Korean troops march on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea.  Instagram/ David Guttenfelder

David Guttenfelder Instagram North Korean runners rest at the finish line of the 26th Mangyongdae Prize Marathon in Pyongyang, North Korea.  Instagram/ David Guttenfelder

David Guttenfelder Instagram A North Korean wedding party portrait in front of the late leader statues in Pyongyang, North Korea.  Instagram/ David Guttenfelder

Other people who spend a lot of time in North Korea, like the tour guides of the Koryo Tours company, have also begun Instagramming their adventures in the country. In fact, some of the guides even captured their fellow tour leader’s wedding in North Korea (pictured below), in perhaps the first foreign wedding ever held in Pyongyang. 

The Koryolink 3G network, which is available only to foreigners, allows for some of the most authentic, live “reports” from what is arguably the world’s most impenetrable territory for media.

Koryo Instagram The wedding of one Koryo Tour employee in North Korea, attended by North Koreans and fellow co-workers.  Instagram/ Simon Cockerell

Koryo Instagram A photo from the Chinese side of the Tumen River, a Koryo Tour group walks across to the North Korean side.  Instagram/ Amanda Carr

Koryo Instagram Soldiers play some arcade games at Kaeson Youth Park in Pyongyang, North Korea.  Instagram/ Amanda Carr


Share this article

More News from IBT MEDIA