An American tourist traveling from Beijing, China to Pyongyang, North Korea pointed his camera out the train window to capture this rare 1-hour-long look at what North Korea looks like on the interior.
This was a propaganda tour that brings tourists to the country’s showcase cities and most fertile regions. [...] I was mostly allowed to film openly because, again, it was of the best areas with the better fed and dressed elite population that the NK government wants the outside world to see — which is poor, yet not much worse off than Eastern Europe or China was in the late 1970′s. Don’t be fooled though, these images are not representative of most of North Korea. Look for hidden videos smuggled out to see how too many North Koreans live, with oppression, famine, orphans, and not to mention the 200,000 political victims living in soviet style Gulag camps.
News photo agencies EPA, AFP, and Reuters have all issued kill orders for a photo of Kim Jong-il’s funeral procession released by the Korean Central News Agency, the state news agency of North Korea. The photo (above at bottom) raised red flags after a comparison with a Kyodo News photo taken just seconds earlier revealed that a number of people had vanished from the scene. The New York Times writes,
A side-by-side comparison of the full images does point to a possibly banal explanation: totalitarian aesthetics. With the men straggling around the sidelines, a certain martial perfection is lost. Without the men, the tight black bands of the crowd on either side look railroad straight.
Perhaps it was a simple matter of one person gilding the lily.
The North Korean government is the latest to get caught trying to feed a poorly Photoshopped photo to the media. This past weekend the Korean Central News Agency — a state-run organization — released a photo of citizens trying to wade through floodwaters in Pyongyang, saying that heavy rains flooded farmlands, destroyed homes, and caused deaths. After initially passing the image onto its members, the AP decided to issue a “kill notice” (yup, that’s what it’s called) a day later to withdraw the photo, stating,
The content of this image has been digitally altered and does not accurately reflect the scene [...] No other version of the photo is available.
The problem was the fact that the clothing worn by the people in the photo don’t appear to be wet at all — even where the water meets the pants! It appears the water level was much lower, and the government tried to exaggerate the image, perhaps in an attempt to appeal for international aid.
When’s the last time you saw some amateur video shot from inside North Korea? There’s a good chance the answer is never, given how secretive the country is and how tight the policies are for what outsiders are allowed to do. Photojournalist Steve Gong, however, captured some really high quality video from inside the country using a Canon 5D Mark II. Read more…