Images of North Korea that got photographer Eric Lafforgue banned from the country for life (40 Pics)


'The North Korean army is said to be one of the most important in the world. But if you travel there, you’ll often see soldiers doing menial tasks'


'The officials hate it when you take this kind of picture. Even when I explained that poverty exists everywhere, they still forbade me from taking them'

Child labour

'When times are hard (as they usually are here), children can be found working for the farming collectives,' explains Lafforgue


'North Korean officials forbid you to photograph anyone suffering from malnutrition like this man or this little boy'


'North Korean officials forbid you to photograph anyone suffering from malnutrition like this man or this little boy'

Not allowed

It is forbidden to take pictures of North Korean people if they are not well dressed. For my guide this man was not well dressed enough to be photographed'


'I spotted these kids collecting maize grains in the streets near Begaebong,' explains Lafforgue of this surreptitious shot


'A woman standing in the middle of a crowd of soldiers. This picture was not supposed to be taken as officials do not allow pictures of the army'


North Korea is touchy about images showing the military. 'You see this all the time in North Korea, but aren't allowed to take pictures,' says Lafforgue

No photos!

'Taking pictures in the demilitarised zone (between North and South Korea) is easy, but if you come too close to the soldiers, they stop you'

Not allowed

Taking photos of soldiers relaxing, such as this photograph of two men enjoying a sneaky cigarette, is not allowed in North Korea


'When visiting the dolphinarium in Pyongyang, you are allowed to photograph the animals, but not the soldiers who make up 99 per cent of the crowd!'


The North Korean regime hates photos that show soldiers resting. 'This picture really contributed to me getting banned from the country,' says Lafforgue

Cold shower

A man bathes in the river in the countryside outside Pyongyang. 'Once you get into rural areas, this sort of thing is very common,' says Lafforgue


'This man was using an old tyre for a boat. In the countryside, people often fish in small lakes - it's a way to get fresh food in remote areas where it's rare'


'My camera was confiscated for the duration of the bus trip to Chongjin which suffered in the famine. Once I saw the people in the street, I understood why'


'This man was taking a rest by the sea in Chilbo. My guide asked me to delete this for fear that Western media would say he was dead. He was alive'


'In Kaesong near the demilitarised zone, you are locked in an hotel complex made of old houses. The guides say it's the same outside the hotel. No, it's not'

Not impressed

'This kind of picture is widespread in the West. The caption often points out that North Koreans have to eat grass. The guards get furious if you take it'


'People go to the country to do public projects. The regime used to see shots like these as positive but now they know that we interpret this as forced labor'

No flash

'As we passed by these old buildings, the guides asked me not to shoot with flash. The official reason was “to avoid scaring people"


'North Koreans are very paranoid. I was asked to delete the picture since the guides were certain I would have said those people were homeless - they were just resting'


The regime considers pictures showing smiles under portraits of the leadership to be disrespectful. 'Never take a picture where you can see people doing silly things in front of the Kim portraits,' says Lafforgue


'Although cars are becoming widespread in Pyongyang, peasants aren't used to seeing them. Kids play in the middle of the road just like when they didn't exist'


'You can find all kinds of food and drink in Pyongyang’s two supermarkets. They even have Evian water but only the elite can shop there'


'We were in Pyongyang art gallery when we experienced a power outage. When it happens, they tell you it’s because of the American Embargo'


'Perhaps the most ridiculous prohibition of all. When I took the picture, everyone yelled at me. Since the painting was unfinished, I couldn't take the picture'


'You are supposed to see fun at the Songdowon Children's Camp but some come from the country and are scared of escalators which they've never seen before'


'Officials took issue with this photo for two reasons: The teen is wearing his cap in a strange way (according to my guide), and there are soldiers in the background'


'Pyongyang’s subway system is the deepest in the world as it doubles as a bomb shelter. I was told to delete this photo because it includes the tunnel'

Smarten up!

'The way you dress is very important in North Korea. When I asked to take a picture of these students, the girl insisted that the man straighten his shirt'


'When you visit families, the guides love it if you take photos to show that kids have computers. But when they see there's no power, they ask you to delete!'


'You see a lot of tired people on the roadside, since many have to ride their bikes for hours to get to work. Taking pictures of them is forbidden.'

Eking a living

Although the regime has cracked down on the black market, the 'grey market', to which officials turn a blind eye, allow some to scratch a living


'North Korea says foreign aid is a war debt, but taking photos of the WFP sign through the window of a house in a village is forbidden'


'A rare example of an undisciplined kid in North Korea. The bus was driving in the small roads of Samijyon in the north, when this boy stood in the road'


'Queuing is a national sport for North Koreans,' says Lafforgue. This photo shows people waiting for a chance to catch the bus to work.

Capital living

'Pyongyang is the showcase of North Korea, so building exteriors are carefully maintained. When you look inside, the truth becomes apparent'
Images of North Korea that got photographer Eric Lafforgue banned from the country for life (40 Pics) Images of North Korea that got photographer Eric Lafforgue banned from the country for life (40 Pics) Reviewed by Your Destination on January 05, 2018 Rating: 5

No comments