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  #41  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2013, 2:06 PM
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Holy Sheeet!! I've been waiting for so long for a competent photographer to cover NK (not just on SSP, but on the internet)!

Dude, this is simply awesome.
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  #42  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2013, 3:12 PM
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Chef - For the most part, taking photos of people up close was not allowed. Other than the officially sanctioned locals guides or people on set tours, I don't have any photos of citizens from close up. I got a lot of stares walking around with my camera, but that happens a lot of places. I felt there was an underlying interest when people would see me but most were very afraid of having their photo taken. As an example, if I took a shot of someone that just so happened to not be wearing their shirt pin, and the authorities found the photo online, that person could face serious consequences. Because of this, people become very nervous when they see a camera.

Glowrock - Thanks, Nat Geo has an office here in NYC. Maybe I'll go say hello

huantedheadnc - It's hard to say. While it seems obvious to outsiders that the leadership is running the country and its citizens into the ground, there is so much propaganda instilled since birth, that the people probably do believe most of the absurdities. Like I mentioned, the faith in the Leaders is like a religion. People around the world have a strong belief that God is on their side and is there for them, no matter how bad their situation. It is no different in NK. Interestingly, the Kim brand has been developed into it's own religion with borrowed mythological and Christian themes. You have the trinity of the father, Kim Il Sung, the Son, Kim Jong Il, and the holy ghost, Kim Jong Un, though the legacy of Jong Un is still being written. The birth of Kim Jong Il has been canonized, being foretold by a swallow and occurring under a double rainbow with a new bright star in the sky. Is this really more unbelievable than other religious tales?

Mayday - The people squatting outside the buildings in the rain was the most bizarre sight for me. I don't have any shots, but the highways between towns were some of the strangest places I saw. They were absolutely enormous, at least the width of the largest interstates in the US. They were in terrible condition and had little to no traffic. Every now and then I'd see a military truck packed with soldiers or some poor person on their bike, riding down the giant road in the rain. After leaving Pyongyang, I don't think I saw anyone smile.

giallo - I had the same confliction before I went. I suppose the regime is getting some money from me but there are a lot of people that have better jobs because of the tourism. I think there are more positive direct effects of tourism that the locals experience than the negative indirect benefits the regime realizes. I could be wrong though and maybe just trying to justify my trip. Anyway, if you have a chance, I'd say go. The way I thought about it was this, either the country begins to liberalize and open to outside investment, becoming like any other place in the world, or it becomes even crazier and more secluded and bans foreigners from visiting. Either way, the sooner you go the better. If I have a chance, I'd like to go back and see some places further away from Pyongyang. Like I mentioned in the intro, NK really is the last country of its kind on Earth.


dewE - There is a lot of money coming in from China. They are using NK for their resources and fund the regime. The recent saber rattling by NK came to an abrupt halt after the Chinese threatened to pull their support. There are virtually no cameras or tourists. For comparison - I think 15,000 tourists, of those, 3-4,000 are Westerners, visit NK per year. SK gets 11.1 million foreign tourists per year.

ue - yeah, I think you are right. In fact I think China in the late 70s would have been nearly identical. Actually, I think NK was better off than China, development wise, in the late 70s. Things have changed since.

Thanks everyone for the comments and interest.

Last edited by Okayyou; Jun 5, 2013 at 4:55 PM.
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  #43  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2013, 4:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Okayyou View Post

Glowrock - Thanks, Nat Geo has an office here in NYC. Maybe I'll go say hello
You should. And if not them, some other publication.
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  #44  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2013, 7:14 PM
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Incredible. I've seen plenty of propaganda with my own eyes but I've never seen that level of indoctrination before. It's interesting to say the least.
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  #45  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2013, 7:27 PM
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This has to be the most depressing thread that I have ever seen on this board. The people look so beat down its not even funny. Its weird how everything is super clean but rundown and dirty at the same time. Are people forced to have children here? I could never bring another being into a life like this.
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  #46  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2013, 10:21 PM
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You know to be perfectly honest, NK doesn't look nearly as bad as I expected. There are lots of places in the world that seem poorer, dirtier, and more run down. Granted perhaps your guides took you to the better places and better vantage points.

Also, the devil's advocate in me says that it's hard to judge people's feelings from a photo. I have a screensaver on my work computer of a street scene of Broadway in Soho NY. I just noticed that out of the many people in the photo, just by chance no one is smiling or laughing. So are they all depressed and worn down? And I remember reading an old NY times article from like 1990 as a little research project about Korean green grocers in NY, back then they had a reputation of coming across as rude and gruff because they didn't smile and didn't look customers in the eye. But that was just a cultural thing.

I myself would be depressed as hell to live in North Korea. But people are people and they find reasons to feel happy and feel sad in all kinds of living situations. Especially if they grew up in those situations and that's all they know.
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  #47  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2013, 10:41 PM
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I was excited as soon as I read the title (from the main forum landing page).

When I clicked, it loaded the second page of comments... even though it's only a day old, and already on the third page.

So I had to click back to page 1.

THEN I saw it was OkayYou. I haven't even looked yet. I had to reply first because I'm too ****ing excited to even start.

Getting a drink, turning on music, and browsing NOW...
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  #48  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2013, 11:03 PM
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Teared up a little at this one, no idea why:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/61118460@N00/8395128367

Do you sell prints? I want this one... I just LOVE it. Again, can't explain why:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/61118460@N00/8399143765

Right in the feels...

http://farm9.static.flickr.com/8219/...79170035_b.jpg

That little spike of high heel... I can hear the sound of my own high-heel-prone city in that photo. And her face veiled by an umbrella... just made it all so relatable.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/61118460@N00/8391755061

Wow...

http://farm9.static.flickr.com/8360/...10daa25c_b.jpg

Wow...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/61118460@N00/8399114457
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  #49  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2013, 12:40 AM
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It just doesn't get any better than this!!!!

You made it look like a real place and not just an Evil Empire. At the same time I feel so sorry for those people.


"So I told them if I was paid just two thousand more won a year I could afford some long pants."




Sorry OK, I hope you aren't offended by my silliness.

I'll be back to this rascal again & again. Thanks.
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  #50  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2013, 12:50 AM
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"I just noticed that out of the many people in the photo, just by chance no one is smiling or laughing. So are they all depressed and worn down? And I remember reading an old NY times article from like 1990 as a little research project about Korean green grocers in NY, back then they had a reputation of coming across as rude and gruff because they didn't smile and didn't look customers in the eye. But that was just a cultural thing."

I know what you're saying about the 'cultural thing' and that's true to an extent but being mildly familiar with that, this goes beyond. In this case - it's not just 'not smiling', you can see it in their eyes, their demeanor, their posture, etc. Whatever sense of 'soul' they have is hanging on by a thread. SSP forumers have posted photo threads from some of the poorest or most violent places on Earth and inexplicably there are at least a handful of photos showing locals who still have a sense of true happiness or joy - usually children. In this thread, you see virtually none of that - and I'm not usually one to pick up on that.
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  #51  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2013, 1:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Okayyou View Post
dewE - There is a lot of money coming in from China. They are using NK for their resources and fund the regime. The recent saber rattling by NK came to an abrupt halt after the Chinese threatened to pull their support. There are virtually no cameras or tourists. For comparison - I think 15,000 tourists, of those, 3-4,000 are Westerners, visit NK per year. SK gets 11.1 foreign tourists per year. Thanks everyone for the comments and interest.
The above clears things up. Thanks for the reply!
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  #52  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2013, 2:18 AM
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Originally Posted by bricky View Post
You know to be perfectly honest, NK doesn't look nearly as bad as I expected. There are lots of places in the world that seem poorer, dirtier, and more run down. Granted perhaps your guides took you to the better places and better vantage points.
I had this thought too. Part of why I keep going back to this again and again. But it's weird too. Despite the grandeur of the monuments or the cleanliness... it's just a weird twilight zone patina of the 1950s. It's an uncanny valley of a city. It's seems real enough, but is it?
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  #53  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2013, 2:20 AM
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Man, epic crazy awesome photos. Having kim il and kim jong il staring at me all the time would creep me out. Did you get any sense that the people there knew the dear leader was full of shit but they had to pay respect or they would be put in prison?
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  #54  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2013, 3:37 AM
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thanks! again, amazing photos. At first glace I thought those little phone booth/stations(?) were gold-plated urinals.
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  #55  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2013, 5:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bricky View Post
You know to be perfectly honest, NK doesn't look nearly as bad as I expected. There are lots of places in the world that seem poorer, dirtier, and more run down. Granted perhaps your guides took you to the better places and better vantage points.

Also, the devil's advocate in me says that it's hard to judge people's feelings from a photo. I have a screensaver on my work computer of a street scene of Broadway in Soho NY. I just noticed that out of the many people in the photo, just by chance no one is smiling or laughing. So are they all depressed and worn down? And I remember reading an old NY times article from like 1990 as a little research project about Korean green grocers in NY, back then they had a reputation of coming across as rude and gruff because they didn't smile and didn't look customers in the eye. But that was just a cultural thing.

I myself would be depressed as hell to live in North Korea. But people are people and they find reasons to feel happy and feel sad in all kinds of living situations. Especially if they grew up in those situations and that's all they know.
I agree with some of these points. I think we have to be careful not to project predetermined feelings regarding NK onto some of the people in the photos. While there are bizarre sights and downtrodden looking people in the photos, how many photo threads currently on the front page show unhappy people. Particularly, if the NK culture isn't one that shows much emotion, people might look depresed when they are really just walking the streets, lost in thought. I really can't say much as I was kept away from the locals and not in the country long enough to make an accurate assessment. I can say that the people in the smaller cities outside of Pyongyang, did look more hardened and unhappy. But it was raining cats and dogs and people around the area were dying in the floods. Not many people would be happy in that situation.

If anyone is interested in a good read, the Orphan Master's Son does a nice job capturing some of the paranoia and bizarre culture that exists in the country.


Ex-Ithican - I ran through captions for that photo in my head as well.

SignallHiker - Thanks! If you want a print send me a PM regarding size. It might take a few weeks for me to get settled and find a printer here in NY.

dewE - That should have been 11.1 million. I assume you figured that out.

Photolith - I saw a lot of true devotion, people crying and bowing at the statues. My guides might have been a little more questionable but they toed the party line pretty hard. I didn't have many opportunities to interact with the locals. My tour agency told me to steer clear of anything other than basic questions regarding the regime.
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  #56  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2013, 6:15 PM
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Wow, you sir need an award for excellence. What an astonishing set of photos and great captivation. These are some of the best photographs of NK I've ever seen. Excellent job.
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  #57  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2013, 6:25 PM
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Jawdroppingly awesome.
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  #58  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2013, 7:09 PM
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Hands down best ever ssp thread
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  #59  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2013, 7:50 PM
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Thanks for this amazing photo thread!
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  #60  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2013, 8:21 PM
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Very unique and all individually amazing photos. Thank you for posting, I enjoyed this thread a lot, perhaps the best thread I've ever seen here.
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