Above and below - Watching celebration dances on the occasion of the birthday of the late Kim Jong-Il - Pyongyang, DPRK - 16 February 2019
I believe my desire to visit twice in 2019 the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is well summarised by the quote of Japanese Magnum photographer Hiroji Kubota: “Study the works of the greatest photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Andre Kertesz. Try to travel to many parts of the world and understand what a diverse world we live in.” Hiroji was in North Korea in 1986.
So in February 2019, a week before the second Trump Kim summit in Hanoi, I travelled to North Korea with Koryo tours, in and around Pyongyang for one week. Beyond the prospects of a nuclear confrontation between the United States and the most hermetic power on the globe, I wanted to document what life is for its citizens, away from the propaganda images we are used to see. I decided to go back in November 2019 for one week, this time with Choson Exchange, a Singapore based social nonprofit organisation focused on economic policy, business and legal training for young North Koreans.