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05/29/2014 10:15 am ET | Updated May 29, 2014

The Stark Difference Between North And South Korea In 10 Stunning Photos

Today, it is hard to believe that North and South Korea were ever a united land.

The repressive northern state and its wealthy southern neighbor look like different universes in German photographer Dieter Leistner's powerful photography project Korea-Korea. Their division in the aftermath of World War II and the subsequent Korean war wrenched families apart and set the nations on vastly divergent political and economic paths.

Leistner photographed public spaces in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang in 2006, and found similar locations in South Korea's capital Seoul in 2012. From commuters on public transport to students in class, his striking juxtaposition of everyday locations shows just how stark the divide has become.

  • Dieter Leistner / Korea Korea / Gestalten
    Bus stop for Boseong Girls’ Middle & High School.
  • Dieter Leistner / Korea Korea / Gestalten
    Bus stop in Pyongyang.
  • Dieter Leistner / Korea Korea / Gestalten
    Street scene in Insa-dong.
  • Dieter Leistner / Korea Korea / Gestalten
    Street scene in Pyongyang.
  • Dieter Leistner / Korea Korea / Gestalten
    Seoul Metropolitan Subway.
  • Dieter Leistner / Korea Korea / Gestalten
    Pyongyang Metro.
  • Dieter Leistner / Korea Korea / Gestalten
    Architecture lecture at Daelim University.
  • Dieter Leistner / Korea Korea / Gestalten
    Language course at the Grand People’s Study House.
  • Dieter Leistner / Korea Korea / Gestalten
    Statue of King Sejong in Gwanghwamun Square (in front of Gyeongbok Palace)
  • Dieter Leistner / Korea Korea / Gestalten
    Geumsusan Palace and Kim Il Sung Mausoleum.
  • Gestalten

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