All posts tagged: North Korea; DPRK

Portrait of Humanity: Inside North Korea

“I’m interested in the dynamics between power and ordinary people,” says Fabian Muir. “Especially in nations and societies that operate outside of Western norms.” Muir has travelled to North Korea on five occasions, each time conducting a photographic survey of everyday life in the country. His work interrogates Western perspectives of North Korea, which are often focused on the stark differences that autocracy bestows on the people living there. “Ordinary people in such countries invariably demonstrate the same positive human traits one can find all over the world,” explains Muir. “I try to bring these out where possible.” Muir’s winning Portrait of Humanity image was taken in an orphanage in Nampo, a port town on the west coast of North Korea. He notes that when he first entered the orphanage, the children had been running around, playing. “They were given some kind of cue by a teacher to arrange themselves beneath the leaders’ portraits,” he says. “The idea had been for a more posed portrait with the children looking into the lens, but instead I …


Q&A: Nicholas Bonner shows North Korea’s carefully-cultivated image

Nicholas Bonner first visited Korea in 1993, and since then has spent “most of my adult life involved in North Korea”. Now based in Beijing, he makes regular trips to the country with his company, Koryo Tours, and has also put together films and other cultural projects with North Korea with his other business, Koryo Studio. Bonner has collected ephemera from North Korea for nearly 25 years and recently published a book showcasing some of it with Phaidon, Made in North Korea: Graphics from Everyday Life. Featuring everything from metro tickets to stamps, postcards to luggage labels, tinned food labels to gift-wrap, it includes a healthy proportion of photographs made and disseminated by the DPRK. BJP  caught up with him to find out more. 


BJP Staff