A daring photographer risked detention to smuggle a series of stunning images out of secretive North Korea.
Last year, photographer Michael Huniewicz traveled to North Korea from China to explore the secretive country, as well capture in raw form the state of its poverty-ridden society under the dictatorship of Kim Jong-un.
The stunning photos, which were shared with the Daily Mail, were “very stressful” to smuggle out, according to Huniewicz. Many times, his guides – which are mandatory for travel – warned him “You took too many photos. Too many.” They were hinting at his likely detainment, as most of the shots were illegal to capture.
Regardless, he felt the risk was worth it, as the images give “a more candid look into the most mysterious country on the planet.”
These photos are unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, as they contrast greatly from the polished photographs peddled by the state-run news agency.
Mr. Huniewicz was careful to evade his minder’s watchful eye when he took these photographs. Some feature workers in the fields and others expose the squeaky-clean capital, Pyongyang.
Scroll through the photos he managed to smuggle out of the country below:
Street cleaners sweep pavements for dust under the keen eye of a soldier in one of the parks in the capital city, Pyongyang.
A waitress works in a restaurant while 24/7 propaganda plays on the television.
People waiting to sell human waste to be used as fertilizer
Rural: Locals wait for a train to pass, providing Michal moments to snap this image of life in North Korea’s countryside.
According to the photographer, the scene was staged, as there were no other trains that day.
North Korean workers carrying their equipment on a main road.
This custom declaration form reveals that it is illegal to bring laptops into the country. And, of course, Korean films, pornography, and even guide books.
One of the few entry points to North Korea for foreign tourists; was deserted when Michal was present.
A more realistic side to the capital’s city life?
Risky: A photo of North Korean soldiers, deep in conversation.
A battered white pickup truck carries North Korean soldiers along a dusty road.
In rural parts of North Korea, miles of uninterrupted green fields can be seen. Farming remains key for survival.
Gloomy gray architecture…
The Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge remains one of the last bright lights for tourists entering North Korea from southeastern China.
“I had 15 seconds to take this picture. This shop is for the locals only, and I was kicked out of it by my guide soon after taking this photo, but he didn’t’ see me taking it,” Michal told Bored Panda.
Guards in watchtowers are positioned to prevent anyone from going astray.
People ride bicycles and use carriages, rather than driving cars and trucks.
“We were intercepted by our guides, who we could not leave during the entire stay, and who’d tell us when to sleep and when to wake up.”
“You are only allowed to photograph these statues if both bodies are featured in their entirety. There was an endless stream of North Koreans bringing flowers and bowing.”
North Koreans can only travel within the country when they receive a permit.
Three young girls play next to crops, which have been planted near a dilapidated pink tower block.
The streets of the capital city, Pyongyang.
Taking photographs in North Korea remains a difficult and risky task, with the government minders closely watching out for any straying foreign tourists.
Taxi drivers in the capital
A group of women in smart skirts, shirts, and red scarfs are pictured sweeping an already spotless pathway in North Korea’s capital city.
Finally, people commuting to work.
Follow Michal’s work by visiting his Twitter.
What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this collection!
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N. Korea looks like a beautiful country. The captions are SO biased though, and seem to be of dubious accuracy.
Biased? How about you go to North Korea and try openly taking the same pictures. . . I’m sure you will then find out just how ‘biased’ the comments really are.
I was in North Korea (DPRK) last month and I will confirm these photos, this photographer and whoever published this “biased” article should be ashamed of themselves to spread this kind of negative propoganda to make themselves look daring and heroic for “smuggling” pictures out of the country. Even most of the stories behind these pictures are false and are most certainly biased. The only aim of this article short of phony self promotion is to continue to drive a further wedge into any potential of international unity by way of the truth.
I agree, I was expecting to see more chaos and poverty, no lights at night etc
Looks like communist bliss. Where do I sign up?
Well…I saw modern cars, well-dressed people, squeaky-clean streets, modern buildings – some political posters and statues, but we have them too.
Reminds me of the dystopian country of Oceania from 1984. They even have telescreens…
Oh you mean like your smart-TV? Or your mobile phone? At least those people realize that they are being watched!
Doesn’t look so bad. Y’know with all that opression it’s sure not as bad, but the countyside looks nice and I bet nature is very healthy and striving there. So little pollution. No crowded cities.
health, clean and green. don’t quite understand the message. i see nothing but propaganda in the part of the reporting.
“North Koreans can only travel within the country when they receive a permit.” – Not so bad? Cleaning clean streets? Market for locals only, it seems like there is nothing to buy… As it may look clean, N.Korea suppress any personal will and makes it`s ppl in “the image of it`s leader”. The thing is that w/o allowing differences in opinion or small thing like “free choose”, where you get what the leader gives you, can`t be mentally health place. Saying that this is communism is wrong – it`s one persons “translation” of the meaning. It`s more like complete monarchy where 1 has all and the rest are there to supply more for the one. Sick and against human spirit. The fact that the ppl there are not doing anything is because they are not allowed to know anything else…Same like religion. When you say something lot of time, in the end ppl will accept is as ultimate truth.
My 2 cents.
Don’t forget “no pollution”. Are you serious? Do you realize or have you heard of yellow sand? It blows in from China’s use of chemicals. South Korea has a warning level and people (smart people) wear masks so they don’t directly inhale it. I’ve personally washed it from windshields from trucks. Imagine a layer of dry mustard (the ground spice) an eight of an inch thick that accumulated over a week.
Well it´s not a capitalist system more like sustainable one?
I don’t understand??? what was the real aim of this article???
Are you people serious? N. Koreans have little to nothing while the aristocrats live like kings. This is one of the most oppressive regimes in the world.
You do not understand. Anything.
I agree North Korea is oppressed but these really got me thinking… are they really that oppressed when they are living in ignorance and bliss? They know nothing of the other world. Their world is just like ours. Except its super fucking clean. You dont worry about others attacking you or mugging you or suing you or being an asshole… because the only thing you do is pay respect and boom. Super clean streets and modern buildings and everything. Sure it seems bad but they never saw any of what we have so they cant miss what they dont know about…
I dont think North Korea is a great country, but I doubt anyone living there feels oppressed at all. They’ve pretty much been brainwashed into knowing what the government wants them to know and nothing else. Their country is nothing like anyone else’s. They government has such a vice-grip on their country and what it knows that its probably impossible for the thought to even occur.
Wonder what the carbon footprint is? Isn’t what all of us are trying to get back to.
Photos make wishing move to Kim Jong Un great country of prosperous!
I can understand why Kim Jong-un doesn’t want us to see these pictures…. He doesn’t want us to come
The girl on the last photo is cute! 😀
you guys are so dumb.. can’t wait for you all to be sent to prison camps because you bought into north korean propaganda and wanted to vacation there
Some people’s logic on here is shocking.
You see a few clean streets and some pretty fields, and you’re already buying into sparkly propaganda.
Why are these people even on this page?
These really look like most tourist pictures from DPRK. I call BULLSHIT PROPAGANDA!
I’m quite fascinated by N Korea and read/watch anything I can get my hands on about their lifestyle and culture. These photos are in contrast to all other material I’ve seen. I thought most of the population was starving, poverty stricken and subject to extreme brutality. These photos show a very different day to day life experience.
Perhaps NK is heaven on earth and it is our government who is lying to us. A little bit more seriously, some of the captions could be rewritten to paint a better picture. The pictures themselves prove some, but not much. The pic with caption “Guards in watchtowers are positioned to prevent anyone from going astray.” Seriously? Where are the guards and guns. Even so, looks like I could do whatever I want inside the tree line. The market shows food is available. Sure, not as much as my grocer, but there are food deserts right in the USA. A later picture refers to “Sweeping a spotless path”. Hey, they have clean clothes and are employed. “People commuting to work”, so they have work there. They look disgruntled but so do people anywhere. Three young girls play next to crops. Is it any better they should be staring at an iPad? And they are near a garden. I know kids who have never dreamed they could actually grow their own tomato. Gloomy gray architecture. So what, check out all the green space. “Everyday life” kids, parents walking together. Listen, not saying I want to live there, only saying it is the captions not the pictures themselves that are painting the picture. I could take all these pictures, report with different captions and show how great it is there.
Those soldiers look malnourished.
Don’t look now, this is what the Tree Huger and Liberals want for America. Your EPA will be the new Gestapo (They already have SWAT teams) enforcing how you live, what you eat, where you work, and ensure you live at a subsistence level, in a 100 square foot high-rise apartment. Of course Apparatchiks (i.e. DC) and the wealthy are Exempt.
my god, i feel my brain cells commiting suicide the more i read these comments, i dont know why we even try any more, the worlds population has gotten so unbelieveably stupid its fucking sickening.
I dont see any photos besides photo 01
There is only ONE overweight person in all of North Korea. His name is Kim Jong-un. All others are malnourished.