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Traveling Through Kim Jong Il's Austere And Extravagant North Korea (PHOTOS)

Posted: 12/19/2011 7:00 am

In September, I went on a trip I'd been hoping to take since I moved to Hong Kong five years ago. I headed to North Korea.

Accompanied by a friend, I took a two person guided tour arranged by Koryo Tours. Though we were accompanied and observed by two North Korean guides and a driver throughout the trip, I had the opportunity to take lots of photos what we saw, much of which defied description. The pictures seem particularly important now that it is less certain other travelers will have the opportunity to see the country as I did.

Some of these photos are of a visually appealing Mass Games performance, in which 100,000 North Korean performed synchronized acrobatics. Others are of the quieter side of North Korean life and capture everyday individuals living their lives in a country where Dear Leader's will was law.

To see more of my photographs of the Hermit Kingdom, check out the complete photo set. For more of my photographs of various Asian destinations, please stop by my website.

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  • A 3-second exposure of the motion at the 100,000 person Mass Games performance. The background is made up of 30,000 kids holding sign boards. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Women re-enact the birth of Eternal Leader Kim Il Sung at the Mass Games performance. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Human pixels. Kids hold signs creating an image of a North Korean flag. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Rows of performers. Mass Games. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Women dancers performing at the Mass Games. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Soldiers watching the Mass games. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • A tribute to Kim Il Sung at the Mass Games. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Rows of apartments in Pyongyang. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Adults in North Korea are required to wear a pin with the image of Kim Il Sung. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • A North Korean soldier at the De-militarization zone (DMZ) in Kaesong. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • A young boy dressed in his pioneer uniform. Taken at the Pyongyang Fun Fare. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • A soldier rides a bumper car at a Fun Fare at night in Pyongyang. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Symmetry. (Sam Gellman Photography)

  • A kid plays in front of a tram in Pyongyang. The statue of Kim Il Sung is in the background. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Kids being kids, in downtown Pyongyang. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • Big streets, few people. An afternoon in Kaesong. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

  • A man with his son in a park in Pyongyang. (<a href="http://www.samgellman.com" target="_hplink">Sam Gellman Photography</a>)

 

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