North Korea unfiltered, via Instagram

Schoolchildren gather in front of the ‘Palace of the Sun’, where the remains of Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il are kept.
 
The pictures of North Korea that we have come to know are mainly those that the communist regime in Pyongyang wants us to see, notably huge popular rallies and long processions held in the glory of their ‘Dear Leader’ Kim Jong-un. But that situation could be in the process of changing: back in January 2012, the Associated Press agency opened a bureau in Pyongyang, and since then its journalists have been especially active on Instagram, a social network used for sharing photos and videos. At the same time, this week a large delegation of foreign journalists was invited by Pyongyang into the country and some even seemed able to connect to Twitter.
 
David Guttenfelder is a photographer for the Associated Press in North Korea. He’s recently been quite active on his Instagram account, notably since July when the site began allowing its users to publish 15-second videos. As a result, he’s produced and uploaded several mini-films that lift the lid on his daily life inside North Korea. Some illustrate the widespread poverty and destitution that the regime attempts to hide, like this one below, which shows the glaring lack of electricity needed to light up Pyongyang at night.
  
 
Guttenfelder also films during his travels outside the capital. This video shows the North Korean countryside, south of Pyongyang. 
 
 
Another video filmed from a vehicle shows a row of propaganda posters lining the entire road, along with some passers-by.
 
 
His AP colleague, Jean Lee, has for his part posted a video of rehearsals for a series of grand performances planned to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the armistice signed between the two Koreas. It put an end to three years of war which ultimately led to the country being partitioned in two. The celebrations will take place on July 27.
 
 
What’s more, Pyongyang has taken the rare decision to invite foreign journalists to cover the events and visit the new memorial to North Korean veterans inaugurated on Thursday. Two FRANCE 24 journalists, along with journalists from five US media organisations, are spending this week in North Korea.
 
Surprisingly, they seem to be in a position to use their Smartphones and tweet. In any case, it’s what CNN’s Ivan Watson did. He has posted photos of events ranging from his arrival at Pyongyang airport to his visit to the memorial.
 
Schoolchildren gather in front of the ‘Palace of the Sun’, where the remains of Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il, the two presidents who successively ruled North Korea between 1948 and 2011, are kept.
 
View of the memorial to the victims of the Korean War. 
 
View of Pyongyang plunged into obscurity at night.
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