Post has attachment
The Propaganda Van

Spirits were high. The excitement was palpable. It was none other than the 100th birthday celebration of the eternal President of North Korea, Kim Il-sung. How do you celebrate such an occasion? With a grand military parade of course.

Read more: https://www.aisleseatplease.com/blog/propaganda-van

Please follow, plus, and share if you like!

#pyongyang #northkorea #dprk #propaganda #kimilsung #travel #photography

Photo

Post has attachment
North Korean Tour Guide

A good tour guide can make the difference between an ok tour, and an amazing tour. I've had some tour guides spout off facts that were more myth than reality, and others that had clearly studied up on the areas and history. As a photographer, I'm always communicating up front with any tour guides and agencies that I am a photographer, and looking to take photographs of certain things. It helps a lot if the tour guide knows what you're looking for out of the tour.

In North Korea, as you're generally in more of a group of 20 or so tourists, the situation is a little different. Your itinerary isn't going to really change whether you're on a private tour or a group tour, so you're best off taking the group tour option, saving some money, and having the company of some other people around.

Overall I found the tour guides in North Korea to be quite good. Well versed in history, and able to manage the challenges of taking foreigners around who generally have a very different outlook on life than North Koreans. Some were better than others of course, but either way you're in for a treat. This particular tour guide was one of my favorites, but sadly she stopped being a tour guide after getting married.

I'll never forget my third trip to North Korea where I ran into a tour guide from my second trip, and he immediately recognized and remembered me! I don't think that would happen almost anywhere else in the world, but what an amazing place to tour and see life under different conditions!

Blogged: https://www.aisleseatplease.com/blog/2016/10/31/north-korean-tour-guide

#NorthKorea #DPRK #MtMyohyang #Myohyangsan #tour #tourguide #portrait #candid #travel #photography #UNESCOBiosphereReserve #UNESCO #korea #happy #camera #canonshootingnikon #portraitphotography #travelphotography #조선 #북한
Photo

Post has attachment
Traffic Lady On Her Way

The Traffic Ladies of North Korea have something of their own cult following. It's a fascinating aspect of North Korean society, one which I will admit I was eager to get a photograph or two of. Given that these ladies stand in the center of intersections in Pyongyang directing traffic, it's not like they're exactly elusive, but it's still somehow a bit challenging when on tour to get a good shot of them.

Sure enough though, we did get a stop for a few minutes to take some photos of them near a museum, although this candid shot of one walking to/from work makes it a bit more real. It's an interesting choice of uniform, but as is the case with hats for the military, traffic ladies also get a pretty large peaked cap. I don't know what it is about North Korea and their fondness for large, peaked caps, but it's there.

Blogged: http://www.aisleseatplease.com/blog/2016/10/5/traffic-lady-on-her-way

#TrafficLady #Pyongyang #NorthKorea #DPRK #TrafficGirl #TrafficController #Walk #Uniform #Hat #PeakedCap #travel #photography #streetphotography #asia #culture #everyday #explore #travelphotography #조선 #평양 #북한
Photo

Post has attachment
Don't Stand Out

The Revolutionary Martrys' Cemetery is the resting place for the North Korean soldiers who fought against the Japanese colonial rule of Korea. Among those buried here include Kim Jong-suk, the first wife of Kim Il-sung, the Eternal President of North Korea as well as the mother to Kim Jong-il. Additionally, Kim Pan-sok, the mother of Kim Il-sung and the "Mother of Korea" is buried in the cemetery as well.

Being the special day that it was, the 100th birthday of Kim Il-sung, soldiers came out in droves to visit the cemetery in addition to other significant sites throughout Pyongyang. Normally, tourists are not allowed to take photos of the military in North Korea, but as this was a special day, there were some exceptions to this rule for a change, and I was lucky to get this photo opportunity. The large hats of the soldiers is something I always find interesting. Is it really practical? Or functional?

Blogged: http://www.aisleseatplease.com/blog/2016/9/12/dont-stand-out

#Pyongyang #NorthKorea #DPRK #Korea #RevolutionaryMartrysCemetery #GroupPortrait #cemetery #travel #blackandwhite #monochrome #KimIlSung #KimJongIl #birthday #soldiers #military #standing #travelphotography #blackandwhitephotography #asia #chosun #peakedcap #평양 #북한 #초전
Photo

Post has attachment
Kim Equites

This magnificent equestrian statue is that of the Eternal President of North Korea, Kim Il-sung and his grandson, the Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. You might've heard the urban legend that the positioning of the horse's hooves implies how the soldier riding it died - be it in battle, due to battle wounds, or outside of battle. Despite what you may have heard, it is merely that, an urban legend. Today the Supreme Leader is alive and well, although the hoof-positioning would imply he died in battle, if you were to believe the myth.

This statue, and many others like it, were created at the Mansudae Art Studio. A tour of the studio is impressive, for it's one of the largest centers of art production in the world. The studio employs 4,000, of which 1,000 are artists. By manner of apples-to-oranges comparison, Lucasfilm, the creators and producers of Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, employs 2,000 people.

You can find monuments and statues like this one throughout North Korea. It's almost like a monument scavenger hunt as you travel through the nation seeing monument after monument, but they are truly impressive. A lot of time, money, and effort has gone into the creation of innumerable monuments.

The studio itself, in addition to creating these grand statues, also produces everything from paintings to ceramics, and even has an international division responsible for producing grand statues for countries overseas. The African Renaissance Monument is perhaps the most famous of their overseas projects, and a monument I hope to one day have a chance to see.

All public images of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, and Kim Jong-un are produced by the studio as well. It reminds me of these tiny shops in imperial countries. The ones where you find some shop that produces all the buttons for the British crown, or the ceramic for the Japanese Emperor. I made that up, but I know there's situations along those lines, except in this case, it's prominent public art, so it's kind of a big deal in North Korea.

Blogged: http://www.aisleseatplease.com/blog/2016/8/11/kim-equites

#MansudaeArtStudio #mansudae #KimIlSung #KimJongIl #KimJongUn #EternalPresident #SupremeLeader #DPRK #NorthKorea #korea #pyongyang #statue #art #travel #photography #texture #asia #EquestrianStatue #horse #travelphotography #조선 #평양 #북한 #요행
Photo

Post has attachment
Ideological Torch

This 20m (66 ft) high illuminated metal torch sits atop the 150m tall Tower of Juche Idea. Weighing in at 45 tons, it's no lightweight, but has the strength of the granite spire below it to sit on. Elevator to the top was 5€ when I visited, and well worth it for the incredible views of Pyongyang.

Juche, or "self-reliance" is the official political ideology of North Korea first introduced by the now Eternal President of North Korea, Kim Il-sung. As the tower sits along the banks of the river Taedong, opposite of Kim Il-sung square, it provides an easily viewable illumination from the square and other major tourist sites in Pyongyang.

Blogged: http://www.aisleseatplease.com/blog/2016/7/13/ideological-torch

#JucheTower #pyongyang #northkorea #dprk #juche #torch #travel #photography #canon #metal #night #dark #ideology #selfreliance #spire #travelphotography #explore #평양 #북한 #조선
Photo

Post has attachment
Smoky Industry

View from the Ryanggang Hotel, on the banks of the river Taedong in Pyongyang, North Korea. Looking out, and seeing a smoke stack, is perhaps one of the most industrial looking things I saw in Pyongyang. With plenty of buildings accommodating all kinds of businesses and state industries, the chimney stands out.

Staying in a North Korean hotel, is in itself an experience. You never know who else will be staying there besides the tourists. Amenities for sale in the shops vary from the mundane everyday items like toilet paper and toothpaste to the unexpected, such as souvenir money.

Blogged: http://www.aisleseatplease.com/blog/2016/7/7/smoky-industry

#pyongyang #northkorea #dprk #smokestack #chimney #taedong #river #industrial #travel #photography #landscape #canon #explore #travelphotography #평양 #조선 #푹한
Photo

Post has attachment
Different From Other Cities

A peaceful morning looking out the window from my room at the Yanggakdo International Hotel. A hotel on a small island in the middle of the Taedong River, Pyongyang, North Korea. With views of the pyramidal Ryugyong Hotel breaking the skyline in the distance and the flame atop the Juche Tower along the river, Pyongyang distinguishes itself from other cities with its architecture and slices of grandeur.

It's a city I've visited twice, because once wasn't enough, and I know I'll be back, I just don't know when I'll fit it in. Like an onion, just when you think you've fully explored it, you realize you can peel back another layer and find new gems. It's not a city nor a country that will reveal herself all at once to you. You need to put in the effort, enjoy its quirks and nuisances, and play the part of the curious but respectful and welcome guest.

Blogged: http://www.aisleseatplease.com/blog/2016/6/10/different-from-other-cities

#pyongyang #skyline #NorthKorea #DPRK #panorama #travel #photography #urban #canon #YanggakdoInternationalHotel #taedong #ryugyong #juche #tower #river #reflection #morning #explore #different #city #cityscape #travelphotography #평양 #조선 #북한
Photo

Post has attachment
Glitz And Glam

Pyongyang is known for having the deepest underground subway stations in the world. At a depth of over 110m (360 ft), the stations also serve as bomb shelters. As with many other architectural and design facets throughout North Korea, the subway station designs are reminiscent of Soviet-designed stations. Although I haven't been to Moscow, several of the subway stations there are also quite extravagantly decorated.

Once people realize that travel in North Korea is never without minders chaperoning you around, they tend to follow up with questions asking if you can meet or talk to regular North Koreans. Well, the answer is both yes and no.

Riding the Pyongyang Metro is an excellent opportunity to interact with regular North Koreans. The caveat is, you may have to overcome a bit of a language barrier, but nowadays more and more people are learning [British] English, and I even had a guy come up and start speaking in English to me! When I first visited North Korea in 2008, kids were ducking behind walls and windows when they saw the tour bus driving by. What a world of difference a few years has made!

Blogged: http://www.aisleseatplease.com/blog/2016/5/27/glitz-and-glam

#pyongyang #northkorea #dprk #pyongyangmetro #subway #station #train #glitz #glamour #soviet #travel #photography #canon #asia #decadence #vertical #explore #travelphotography #조선 #북한 #평양
Photo

Post has attachment
Inside A North Korean Factory

When going on a leisure trip, I don't often consider touring industrial factories. Then again, I don't know if most people would consider North Korea a leisure trip. Still, being able to tour a glass factory as part of a vacation is definitely quite unique compared to the usual tourist circuit. Somehow, it just fits right in and works when it comes to North Korea.

Touring the factory I saw everything from glass melting furnaces to panes of glass rolling through the factory like here. There were quality checks along the way to automatically destroy bad panes, as well as some guys sitting at computers monitoring...whatever they monitor.

Having seen photos of a number of abandoned Soviet factories and buildings, I can only imagine what will happen to this place 10, or 20 years from now. Will it still be making glass, or will it one day be mothballed?

Blogged: http://www.aisleseatplease.com/blog/2016/5/16/inside-a-north-korean-factory

#northkorea #dprk #nampho #nampo #taean #glass #factory #travel #photography #explore #industrial #conveyor #canon #travelphotography #북한 #조선 #남포
Photo
Wait while more posts are being loaded