23 North Korea Pictures That Reveal Things You’ve Never Seen Before

Published December 5, 2017
Updated November 2, 2018

Captured outside of the capital that serves as the country's public face, these North Korea pictures reveal real life in the "hermit kingdom."

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23 North Korea Pictures That Reveal Things You’ve Never Seen Before
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North Korea remains one of the nations most isolated from the larger global society.

With a despotic ruler hellbent on projecting an image of strength and prosperity both inside and outside his nation, it is often difficult to see the reality of North Korea, past the propaganda images approved by the government.

Most images Westerners have seen from North Korea are carefully cultivated by the government, and reflect the most modern and prosperous part of the nation, the capital city of Pyongyang.

These pictures of North Korea only show a tiny part of the true story of how most people in the nation live.

Pictures from the countryside are strictly controlled, and usually only allowed when shot during spring and summer months to avoid showing the effects of the harsh winters of the region.

These images fail to show the reality of North Korea, a nation with stunted industrial development and some of the worst living conditions in the world.

Half of North Korea's population lives in extreme poverty, and even those in the middle class of the nation live without many standard modern amenities.

Despite these rough conditions, the North Korean regime has continued to tell its populace that they live in conditions that vastly exceed those of most Westerners. They also wish to project an image of strength to the rest of the world, papering over their inability to provide for their citizens.

These North Korea pictures go past the shining staged images the regime would like you to see, and delve into the everyday lives of the many North Koreans who live outside of Pyongyang. Shot in and around smaller cities along the country's east coast, including North Korea's second largest city, Hamhung, these images show the real lives of North Korean subjects.

In the process, they illuminate the conditions these people live in, while revealing the humanity of the North Korean citizenry through these powerful images of day-to-day life.

Enjoy these North Korea pictures? Next, check out these North Korea fact that prove the so-called "hermit kingdom" is stranger than you thought. Then, check out these photos of what life is like inside North Korea.

Gabe Paoletti
Gabe is a New York City-based writer and an Editorial Intern at All That Is Interesting.
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