The following images are made by photographer Michal Huniewicz, an English artist who had the chance to travel to North Korea.
Mr Huniewicz revealed laptops are searched for the Hollywood film The Interview, a comedy about Kim Jong-un, which is banned in North Korea
‘Here they are, the father significantly more elegant than the son, who, unlike in real life, isn’t wearing shoes with heels. Initially, he was wearing a coat too, but they replaced it with the parka.’
‘But then it doesn’t seem like they volounteer to keep the place clean.
Since South Korea is no longer providing fertiliser, North Koreans are charged with collecting their faeces in winter for spring planting. This is used to produce toibee, a fertiliser in which ash is mixed with human excrement. Factories and public enterprised have been ordered to produce two tons of toibee.’
Soldiers in Pyongyang.
‘Men and women in Pyongyang. We were told old marriages in North Korea were arranged. In fact, most marriages in the world are arranged.’
‘There was never much traffic in Pyongyang. How were we supposed to participate in a car accident? …’
‘They took us to this spot over and over again, maybe they were really proud of the mural.’
‘There were many guides in the shop. Some of the guides was watching over us inside, another making sure we don’t leave the shop.’
‘This was in a shop with souvenirs: books (Kim Jong-il’s aphorisms andsuch), postcards, posters, etc.’
‘That’s more than $5 USD for those apples. But you never get to handle the local currency called Won. From you, they will accept Chinese Yuan, Euros, or the currency of the Great Enemy, allmighty Dollar.’
‘Socialism supports sport activities, especially the team ones, to build a sense of community. Here, a group of people playing volleyball at the Kim Il-sung Square.’
‘What’s the last time you saw a kid in the West cleaning anything? Also, the statue on the left features a North Korean soldier stepping on an American flag.’
‘The place is called Mansu Hill Grand Monument, and you are informed that “visitors who take photos of the statues are required to frame both leaders in the entirety of their picture.”Well, my friend Ammar took a selfie where they were both showing in their entirety, and yet it was deleted on the border on our way out of the country. Because we are talented hackers and computer geniuses, we recovered it.’
‘The waitresses serving us often seemed a little terrified.
This was our first night in North Korea. We dined in the hotel’s basement, in a small room, debating whether it was bugged, and wondering whether we could trust one another (the whole group was 7 people).’
‘Non-Chinese will be staying here, in the Yanggakdo Hotel, which happens to be located on an island. I believe I read somewhere (Pyongyang comic book?) that you used to be to leave the hotel and walk around the island freely, but that’s no longer the case. You can leave the building and walk the small area in front of the entrance between the hotel and the parking lot (literally 5 metres by 20 metres).’
‘This was how most photos would be taken – through the minivan window.’
‘This is where you board your train to North Korea. It then slowly moves across the [new] bridge, into North Korea, where a major customs check occurs.’
‘At this point, you must already have your North Korean visa issued. Your visit has been approved by the Party, and you have designated guides assigned.
And here’s a North Korean customs declaration form. We only got one for the whole group, and, outsmarted by the rest of us, I was forced to fill it in.
It mentions GPS. My camera doesn’t provide geotagging, but it does have a GPS entry in the menu, in case I’d like to attach a GPS unit. When a North Korean customs officer saw that in the camera menu, she grew very suspicious of my camera and wouldn’t let go of it, even though every time she left our carriage (the checks on your way in are done inside the train) we tried to hide it in various places.’
‘People on their way to what looks like a factory. “(the Korean Workers’) Party is never going to forget the comrades of Rakwon (city)” – Kim Il-so’ng.’
“‘I rule through music and literature.” – Kim Jong Il. “Anyone who composes a work that has not been assigned to the writer through this chain of command is by definition guilty of treason. All written works in North Korea must be initiated in response to a specific request from the Workers’ Party.”
‘Pluralism and individualism are regarded as the greatest enemy. I understood the significance of being able to drive a car anywhere you want, when you please, where you please – as our guide told us in North Korea you only travel big distances by bus or train, when you get permission.’
‘Turns out that the North Korean language has two distinct registers of speech, one relating to the Leader, and one for everyone else. For example, you’d never use words such as “dear” to refer to your loved ones. You are supposed to truely love the Leader alone, and the North Korean song “Mother” tells you how motherly love is nothing compared to the love of the Communist Party.’
‘This was one of the most strange moments – when we finally arrived in Pyongyang. Through the courtains of the compartment window, we looked at a surreal scene that appeared like something out of a theatre in its perfection and artifice. Elegant men, beautiful women, walking in a simulated hurry, travellers without a reason (ours was the only train that day), all to impress us and so that the station doesn’t look empty.’