Inside North Korea : Photos From A Secretive State

In a breach of Kim Jong-un’s strict closed of society, two photographers risked arrest to smuggle a series of stunning images of everyday life out of the secretive state of North Korea. Michal Huniewicz captured his photographs and sneaked them out on hidden memory cards, whilst Canadian photographer Gavin John managed to smuggle his images out but was then banned from ever returning.

Above, women sweep the street under the watchful eye of a soldier.


Huniewicz travelled to North Korea via China in 2015 and was escorted by a tour guide – one of the conditions of being allowed to visit. Credit : Michal Huniewicz


Mr Huniewicz evaded his minder’s watchful eye to take these photographs, which give a unique glimpse into North Koreans’ everyday lives. Above, a waitress working in a restaurant where propaganda images are broadcast around the clock on television.


North Korean soldiers march in Pyongyang with the Monument to Party Founding in the background.


The wide open empty streets of Pyongyang where car ownership is rare.


Mr Huniewicz revealed laptops are searched for the Hollywood film The Interview, a comedy about Kim Jong-un, which is banned in North Korea.


Country life: Michael managed to steal this shot through a train window.


Two young boys share a laugh at the Pyongyang skate park, where the overwhelming majority of youth were using roller-skates.


Rural life in the countryside.


Life inside North Korea, Kim Jong-un’s secretive state.


A stoic Pyongyang traffic directs traffic in the capital. The predominently female officers are seen on mostly all intersections in Pyongyang.


Some of the bleak concrete high-rise accommodation blocks in Pyongyang


Much of the housing in Pyongyang is made up of high-rise blocks of flats


Two people share a laugh at the Pyongyang Amusement park, which features bumper cars, a roller coaster and other rides.


Two female soldiers have their picture taken by a colleague at Mangyongdae; the birthplace of Kim Il-sung.


Life inside North Korea, Kim Jong-un’s secretive state


Life inside North Korea, Kim Jong-un’s secretive state


North Korean soliders march on the grounds of Mangyongdae, the birthplace of Kim Ill Sung.


A team of women clean one of Pyongyang’s many monuments


Members of the public and the army gather in Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang


The Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang was built to commemorate the Korean resistance to Japan from 1925 to 1945


Life inside North Korea, Kim Jong-un’s secretive state


People read a communal newspaper in the Pyongyang subway system, which is claimed to be deep enough to double as a bomb shelter.


One of Michael’s shots taken through a train window


Life inside North Korea, Kim Jong-un’s secretive state


Pyongyang citizens queue for a bus in the core of the city. Public transit is a necessity in the capital due to car ownership being so low.



Photos by Michal Huniewicz & Gavin John. Originally appeared in The Telegraph.


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