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North Korea

Has anybody been to North Korea recently? I started reading about NK in the last months and my parents are from East Germany, so I grew up visiting every year since my 3rd birthday, that might be part of my sudden interest in this subject.
Now I’m not a pj like most of you, I tend to shoot slow, deliberate and obvious. I’m mostly interested in the logistics of getting in and officially photographing.
Even though I live in the US, I have a German passport, which makes travelling a lot easier. Any help is appreciated.

by Andreas Kornfeld at 2006-02-12 21:45:29 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Geting in as a tourist is easy as long as you are not American or South Korean. There are a couple of tour companies that go on a regular basis. The tours are restriced as you can imagine, and the photo ops are few and far between beyond the typical tourist stuff. They do background checks on you, and if you have been published they will find it. PJ are not welcomed, only on very special occasions or if you have the right contacts.

The Korean Freindship Association also does a tour very year with a bit more access and sometimes takes journo’s, but again it is strict and you limited access.


by Nayan Sthankiya | 12 Feb 2006 22:02 | Seoul, Korea (South) | | Report spam→
Haven’t been, but read Guy Delisle’s cartoon book of his time spent working as an animator there – it’s called Pyongyang, A Journey into North Korea, and it’s brilliant. If you haven’t seen it yet, read it before you go. It’ll give you an idea of what you can photograph as well as giving you some tips on some really crap things to do while you’re out there. There was also a UK tv series called Holidays in the Axis of Evil a few years ago which included a programme – that was good. And I forget his name, but there is that book by the Italian photographer who got so pissed off at only being able to photograph the approved tourist sites he photographed the tv instead. Have a lovely trip. Colin 

by Colin Pantall | 13 Feb 2006 06:02 | Bath, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
A friend of mine is planning to go there as well ( also not a photo journalist), I remember we had a chat about it a while ago and she gave me this link:

Maybe you will find some useful information on the site. My friend painted a grim picture on what one can expect when travelling there. She says that all your equipment (cell phone, video cameras) may be taken when you cross the border, you need to ask for permision to shoot a picture and you can only take pictures of approved locations. if you stay in the hotel your room is bugged. You can’t stray from the tour group. Its all the info she gathered. Nyway i hope it can help you in some way


by Malicia Dabrowicz | 13 Feb 2006 07:02 | Katowice, Poland | | Report spam→
I was there as a photojournalist between March 20-28th 2006.

How can I help?


by | 26 Apr 2006 10:04 | Southampton, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Hi Andreas,

I was in North Korea in May 2004 during the aftermath of the train accident that blew up half the town of Ryongchon, northern North Korea. Yep, their spooks did their background check homework and seemed to know about my photojournalism background, but I still managed to get some photographs that were off the beaten path. Got some pictures up on my LS gallery, and you can see a few others here:


I don’t think you’ll have any problems going in on a German passport, but expect them to be extra suspicious by way of you living in the US.

by [former member] | 26 Apr 2006 11:04 | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | | Report spam→

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Andreas Kornfeld, Photographer Andreas Kornfeld
[undisclosed location].
Nayan Sthankiya, Visual Journalist Nayan Sthankiya
Visual Journalist
Saskatoon , Canada
Colin Pantall, Photographer/Writer Colin Pantall
Bath , United Kingdom
Malicia Dabrowicz, art promoter/photographer Malicia Dabrowicz
art promoter/photographer
St Julians , Malta ( MLA )
[undisclosed location].


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