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Mark Edward Harris March 3, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in North Korea.
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Traffic Officer, Pyongyang, North Korea 2008

Mark Edward Harris (b.1958, United States) began his professional photography career after receiving his Masters Degree in Pictorial/Documentary History from California State University, Los Angeles. His editorial work has appeared in publications ranging from Life, GEO, Stern and The Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, to The London Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Wallpaper, Conde Nast Traveler, and Playboy. He is the recipient of numerous awards including a CLIO, ACE, Aurora Gold, and Photographer of the Year at the Black & White Spider Awards. His books include Faces of the Twentieth Century: Master Photographers and Their Work, The Way of the Japanese Bath, Wanderlust, North Korea, South Korea, and Inside Iran. North Korea was named Photography Book of the Year at the 2013 International Photography Awards.

About the Photograph:

“In 2008 I was given the opportunity to document the New York Philharmonic’s historic concert in North Korea’s capital of Pyongyang. I had been to the reclusive country twice before but this was the first time I would be in the country with a large contingent of Americans, the largest in fact since the Korean War.  I had noticed the colorfully dressed traffic officers before but had not been able to do an up close and personal environmental portrait of them. Though my escorts were very friendly, my requests to stop and let me out to photograph the traffic officers had not been accepted. Finally during one of the orchestra’s rehearsals I was able to go out for a little stroll and came face to face with the woman in this photo. She didn’t seem too thrilled about being the subject of my impromptu photo session but she was busy directing traffic. I held my Nikon speedlight with a ¼ CTO on it high and off to my left to reduce the harsh shadows and took a few quick shots with my Nikon D3. I made it back into the auditorium just in time to here the last bars of Rhapsody in Blue. Now my traffic officer in blue is on the cover of North Korea which was named the Book of the Year at the 2013 International Photography Awards.”

Olaf Schuelke January 6, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in North Korea.
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Commuters in Pyongyang Metro. North Korea 2012

Olaf Schuelke (b.1968, Germany) graduated from The University of Stuttgart with a Master’s degree in Architecture and Urban Design and worked as an architect in Germany and Ireland before completely turning to photography in 2011. Olaf has traveled extensively over the past 20 years and focuses on self-driven documentary projects and street photography around Asia. His work has been published in Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Der Tagesspiegel, Berliner Zeitung, Stern, Discovery Channel Magazine, La Vanguardia Magazine and CNN. His images are currently distributed by Sueddeutsche Zeitung Photo. He is currently based in Singapore.

About the Photograph:

This photo is from my project about daily life in North Korea. It’s of local North Korean commuters inside a Pyongyang Metro on an early weekday morning. The subway trains were purchased from Berlin in the late nineties and now run on the two lines that make up the Pyongyang metro system 100 meters below the city. Inside each compartment small frames holding the images of the former two North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are displayed. Western visitors are only allowed to ride the metro for a short number of stops at the most impressive stations. Despite the increasing number of foreigners that now come to visit the last Stalinist regime of North Korea one cannot move around freely and are always accompanied by minders. They constantly keep an eye on the visitors and any contact with local North Koreans is impossible. New destinations inside the isolated country are slowly emerging and more places that were previously off limits are now accessible. Public transport outside of Pyongyang does not exist apart from a very limited number of buses in other cities. The people shown in this image are privileged residents of Pyongyang. They live a much better life than the rest of the North Korean population.”

Tomas van Houtryve January 30, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in North Korea.
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Shooting Pool, North Korea

Photographer Tomas van Houtryve has reported from dozens of countries and received numerous international awards for his coverage of global contemporary issues. After initiating his career as an Associated Press photographer in Latin America, Tomas began working independently in 2003 to pursue stories that go beyond headline news coverage. Whether photographing communist guerrillas in the Himalayas or social unrest in France, he chooses themes that examine the paradoxes of our times. His work regularly appears in leading international publications including TIME Magazine, Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, GEO, Stern, The Independent on Sunday, Foreign Policy, National Geographic, Le Monde and Le Figaro Magazine.

About the Photograph:

“North Korea is the most closed society in the world. Information entering or leaving the country is strictly controlled by the state including a ban on mobile phones and the internet. Constant propaganda urges citizens to hate their enemies and revere the Great Leader. Since 1997, Kim Jung-Il has successfully implemented his “Army-First” ideology which “calls for giving priority to military issues over everything.”

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