Archive: Pyongyang
How North Korea likes to present itself to the world

How North Korea likes to present itself to the world

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Every year, North Korea holds a lavish and extravagant celebration for its ruler known as the Arirang celebrations. The Arirang celebrations can be classified in the same category as the Olympic celebrations. The audience is always treated to a highly choreographed show, the likes of which have only ever been seen at the Olympics.

The Arirang celebrations are a combination of dance, music, art, and patriotism, performed by tens of thousands of gymnasts and dancers. Not many people have ever photographed the Arirang celebrations, but French photojournalist Phillipe Chancel has. The Arirang festivities depict a well-known Korean song by the same name. The Arirang song tells the tale of a young couple that is forcibly torn apart. In this case, the song refers to the division of North and South Korea.

Over the past 20 years, Phillipe Chancel has been taking photographs in North Korea that explore the complex, shifting and ever-growing territory where art, photojournalism, and documentary meet. Phillipe is constantly evolving and so are his projects. His Arirang series focuses on the images that world is confronted with when they do an internet search of North Korea versus what actually happens in the state of North Korea. His photographs of the Arirang festivals offer audiences an unparalleled and uncontrolled image of a tainted version of North Korea.

Most of Chancel’s photographs feature dancers at the festival who move in such a synchronized and uniform fashion that from a distance, it appears as if you are watching the transitions on a TV screen. The Arirang festival offered Chancel some of the best visual materials for the photographic series, which he also titled Arirang.

Not only did pictures of the festival give an enhanced understanding of life in Pyongyang, but the photos also helped to give a glimpse of propaganda. The propaganda filled backdrops, and the colorful matching outfits make a silent but clear statement that has helped people gain a better understanding of the eerie nation.

The celebration also reflects the significant artistic capabilities that human beings are capable of while highlighting the tyrannical rule that North Korean citizens are made to endure in the 21st century. On one side, the photographs make North Koreans appear like ordinary people participating in a run of the mill celebrations. However, on the flip side, these people live a very different existential experience where they are segregated from the rest of the world. Luckily for us, photographers like Chancel provide an insider’s look into the most unknown country in the world.

This is Chance’s second North Korean installation which he released after his first project DPRK. DPRK brought him the international recognition that resulted in publications and exhibitions of his works in several prestigious publications and galleries.

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006

Philippe Chancel - Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006
Philippe Chancel – Arirang, May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2006


Posted in Public Delivery | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
Pyongyang interiors in unexpected and bizarre colors

Pyongyang interiors in unexpected and bizarre colors

Oliver Wainwright - National Drama Theatre, Pyongyang
Oliver WainwrightNational 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.

Read more


Posted in Public Delivery | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment
Calm photos of Pyongyang, the ultimate socialist city

Calm photos of Pyongyang, the ultimate socialist city

North Korea - Setting the Stage - Pyongyang - Pyongyang women 01

North Korea - Setting the Stage - Pyongyang - Pyongyang women 01
Eddo HartmannSetting 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.

Read more


Posted in Public Delivery | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment
Prohibited photos from world’s most isolated country

Prohibited photos from world’s most isolated country

Michal Huniewicz - North Korea - Pyongyang
Michal HuniewiczOstensibly 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.

Read more


Posted in Public Delivery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
Sensational photos of North Korea’s mass games

Sensational photos of North Korea’s mass games

andreas-gursky-pyongyang-I1
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.

Read more


Posted in Others | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
Remarkable photos of real life in North Korea

Remarkable photos of real life in North Korea

David Guttenfelder - North Korea

David Guttenfelder - North Korea
A view of central Pyongyang, North Korea

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.

David Guttenfelder - North Korea
Two female North Korean soldiers hold hands as they tour the birthplace of Kim Il Sung at Mangyongdae, North Korea.

David Guttenfelder - North Korea
In this April 21, 2011 photo, men operate a manual rail car on tracks running along the West Sea barrage near Nampho, North Korea.

David Guttenfelder - North Korea
Children look through a subway car window in Pyongyang, North Korea

Read more


Posted in Others | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment
Want inspiration in your inbox?
Ok
close-link
Public Delivery

Public Delivery