Oliver Wainwright – National Drama Theatre, Pyongyang, 2015
Oliver Wainwright North Korean Interiors documents the unique architecture and the interiors of various regions of North Korea and its capital Pyongyang. Not many photographers get the opportunity to explore this isolated country owing to its closed state; however, Wainwright took the opportunity and ran with it. The interiors that he documented were very kitsch and retro as they were originally created to adorn important theaters and buildings that were designed during the Soviet era.
Eddo Hartmann – Setting the Stage: Pyongyang – Pyongyang women 01, 2014
North Korea is known for its fascination and terror in the same measure. Most of the world knows North Korea for its former leader Kim Jong II and the current Kim Jong Un. However, the fascinating thing about Pyongyang is its architecture.
Michal Huniewicz – Ostensibly Ordinary: Pyongyang
Inhabitants of Pyongyang commuting.
A lot of attention was recently drawn to a series of photographs taken by London-based photographer Michal Huniewicz. These photographs are somewhat prohibited as they show the real side of North Korea. Tourists who want to visit North Korea are only allowed to do so through pre-arranged tours booked via travel agencies. When they arrive, there will be tour guides who will be with them at all times throughout their stay in the country. It is quite normal for tour guides to be assigned to tourists so as to ease their movements and make the tour a worthy experience but truthfully, the main job of tour guides in North Korea is to prevent tourists from interacting with locals, to prevent them from taking pictures and keep them away from areas where there is a high rate of poverty and unhappiness. Tourists are not allowed to take photos of soldiers and there are certain places where cameras are not allowed to be used.
Andreas Gursky – Pyongyang I, 2007, c-print, 307 x 215,5cm
© Andreas Gursky / VG Bild-Kunst. Courtesy: Monika Sprüth / Philomene Magers
Renowned for his large-format colour photographs charting themes of globalised society at work and play, Andreas Gursky’s production employs the digital technology to capture and refine an astounding compilation of detail on an epic scale. The perspective in many of Gursky’s photographs is drawn from an elevated vantage point. This position enables the viewer to encounter scenes, encompassing both centre and periphery, which are ordinarily beyond reach.
ABOUT STRUTH’S WORKS IN KOREA
In March 2007, Thomas Struth went on a first trip to South Korea. He spent time in the two largest cities, Seoul and Busan, as well as visiting religious and cultural sites, important landscapes and shipyards. At the vast DSME shipyard on Geoje Island, one of the largest in the world, he photographed tankers under construction and an immense semi-submersible drilling rig. Struth made two further visits to South Korea in 2008 and 2010, as well as visiting Pyongyang in North Korea for the first time.
Photographer David Guttenfelder, the chief Asia photographer for The Associated Press, took on North Korea after spending seven years taking photos in Afghanistan. He was granted more access than other photographers and could travel around more freely. His recent photos (2011) from North Korea cover something else than the Arirang Festival, which has been already shown by Andreas Gursky, Noh Suntag and many after them. Certainly most images of Guttenfelder staged in a larger context but they are still remarkable.