28 Banned Photos That Were Smuggled Out Of North Korea

North Korea: the country we know little about but cannot help be fascinated by. The country is subject to a number of bizarre rules under the ruling of Dictator Kim Jong Un, making the nation one to be feared by all; but what do we actually know about this unique country? The strict rules on photography mean that it is often near impossible to understand what life is truly like in North Korea, with the only glimpse into this country being through leaked or smuggled images, which in themselves carry an element of danger.

Visitors are not allowed into the country without paying a hefty fine, meaning we actually know very little about this country. Eric Lafforgue is a photographer who took the journey into North Korea, and captured the images that we all want to see. He has visited the country six times and captured a number of fascinating but illegal images. Sharing these images with the western world has meant that Eric has now been banned from visiting again – however, he was able to reveal a snapshot into the daily lives of North Koreans and the stark contrast between life in North Korea and life as we know it!

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North Korea has a limited access to power, meaning transportation often than not struggles as a result! It is common for public buses to break down, and the only way for them to get back up and running is for the passengers to get off the bus and push it themselves.


No power means power cuts are far more dramatic in North Korea, with the people of North Korea becoming used to hours on end of complete darkness.



Taking photos of the Army is illegal in North Korea, unlike people of the UK who are proud to promote our soldiers, it is a different story in North Korea!



We all like to take photos of monuments and statues, like the one above…Eric took this picture during a visit to North Korea and was told to delete it by Officials immediately.



How about taking a quick lunch break and having nothing but grass to eat? This is no joke! North Korea is an incredibly poor nation, an element of their society they do not want to be revealed to the rest of the world. Another reason photos are not allowed to leave North Korea.



Access to the internet is extremely rare and limited in North Korea, therefore computers don’t carry much use. However, photos of citizens on computers are actually encouraged to make the nation seem free and open!



Here’s another rare photo of a statue, apparently it is ‘rude’ to photograph statues in North Korea?!


Imagine waiting for the bus in the morning in a queue this size?! This is not uncommon in North Korea, public transport is a huge issue!



It is no surprise photos of this nature are hidden from the rest of the world: North Korea want to promote an image of a nation of health and happiness which is a complete contrast to the realistic photo above!



We all wish we could shop in Harvey Nics and Selfridges, but that doesn’t stop us from having a browse. In North Korea this is not the case! Only rich people can shop in the supermarket in the image above!



And we moan that scaffolding isn’t safe…imagine going to work and having to use ropes!


Imagine going to a sealife show and being surrounded by these guys in the audience?


Another image North Korea don’t want the world to see…they claim homelessness does not exist but this photo suggests otherwise!




Daily curfews are part of everyday life in North Korea, meaning the streets are completely desserted in the evenings.


North Korea is WAY behind the times…



It’s not unusual to be told you aren’t allowed to walk/enter a certain area in North Korea. Looks like Eric got caught red handed taking this photo.


Don’t know about you, but if I had a flash car I would be flaunting it for all to see. In North Korea this is considered distasteful.


The North Korean army is not as powerful as they like us to believe…


Being told to wash the dishes as a child was the biggest punishment ever, imagine having to spend ALL day picking crops and farming?!


Popping to the corner shop for a loaf of bread and a pint of milk is slightly different in North Korea…


This photo is enough to send chills down anyone’s spine.


Most buildings look run down and abandoned like this one.



A car is a necessity in the UK, but in the North Korea not many people have cars so the roads are commonly empty like in the picture above!


This photo is quite terrifying.


Again, a rare picture of the North Korean army…they are considered the ‘strongest in the world’.


Another photo North Korea are ashamed of…a man taking a bath in a local river.



North Korea’s subways are so deep they can also be used as bomb shelters…



School is not a priority in North Korea, however water is! Children often miss school to carry water to their homes for their families.