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Smuggled Photos Show a Side of North Korea Its Leaders Don’t Want You to See

Images from an amatuer photographer shed light on what life is like inside the hermit kingdom.

Photography By
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)

New photographs from a London-based amateur photographer shed light on what life is like inside North Korea. Michal Huniewicz entered the reclusive Communist country as part of a guided tour but managed to circumvent the government’s strict limitations of photography.

Only a handful of tourists are allowed into North Korea each year. For the lucky few, their only way inside is on a guided tour provided by one of about 12 government-sanctioned companies. Government minders follow tourists for the duration of their time in North Korea, which makes Huniewicz’s images that much more remarkable. The photographer concedes many photos were allowed, while others were not.

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(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)

 

“All of the pictures I took are North Korea seen through my eyes,” Huniewicz told CNN in a recent interview (which can be viewed in full below). The photographer wonders about the safety of the government minders who toured him throughout the Asian peninsula because of the photos he took without permission. “I don’t really know whether they’re [under] any real threat, because there’s nothing highly controversial in those pictures,” he said.

 

 

All in all, the images show the slow pace of daily life in North Korea. Much of the landscape is dominated by brutalist architecture and mammoth monuments of devotion to party leaders, dwarfing the sparse population. Because Huniewicz wasn’t allowed to interact with any locals, his photos are taken through the veil of an outsider with an almost voyeuristic-like perspective. Nevertheless, the images give insight into one of the world’s most restricted nations. See more of Huniewicz’s work here.

(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
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(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)
(Courtesy Michal Huniewicz)

For more of RealClearLife’s “Best of 2016,” click here.