I Introduced Polaroid To North Korea, And It Made People Open Up And Tell Their Stories

I had the chance to meet some triplets in Nampho orphanage. There are a lot of twins and triplets in orphanages. The official reason is that parents cannot afford to raise 2 or 3 kids at same time.

I had the chance to meet some triplets in Nampho orphanage. There are a lot of twins and triplets in orphanages. The official reason is that parents cannot afford to raise 2 or 3 kids at same time.

Some say that they represent a kind of magic for the Leaders and that the parents do not have the choice to keep them at home.
I took a Polaroid of the triplets and asked the orphanage director to give the picture to the parents, but I understood they were living very far away and that there were few chances they could receive the picture of their children.

In Pyongyang, I took the polaroids of the girls working at a restaurant, then the owner came and asked for one, in English!

In Pyongyang, I took the polaroids of the girls working at a restaurant, then the owner came and asked for one, in English!

She was the wife of a high rank North Korean diplomat.
She had lived in NYC for 2 years.
She found the Americans very fat but nice people.
She became very talkative as she was so happy with her picture.

Her job is to sell some flowers that the visitors, including the tourists, will lay in front of the Leaders' statues in Mansudae hill in Pyongyang.

Her job is to sell some flowers that the visitors, including the tourists, will lay in front of the Leaders' statues in Mansudae hill in Pyongyang.

3 euros the flowers.
As soon as you put the flowers on the monument, an old lady comes, take the flowers, and resells them!

Miss Kim, she was a perfect French speaking guide at the War Museum. I met her 5 times during my trips, she kept on telling me she learned French in Pyongyang university.

Miss Kim, she was a perfect French speaking guide at the War Museum. I met her 5 times during my trips, she kept on telling me she learned French in Pyongyang university.

In fact, I learned later that she spent her childhood in Algeria where her father was a diplomat.
But for the propaganda it was better to say that you can learn perfect French in North Korea!

Every new couple comes to Mansudea hill to pay respect to the dear Leaders' statues in Pyongyang on the day of their wedding.

Every new couple comes to Mansudea hill to pay respect to the dear Leaders' statues in Pyongyang on the day of their wedding.

By looking at their face, this does not look like a happy time! They are very serious.
The guide told me that they were moved to visit the statue of the Leader.
But after seeing their faces on Polaroids, they started to smile and even laugh, forgetting the etiquette!

On a Sunday afternoon, on the Taedong river in Pyongyang, the North Koreans come to have a BBQ or a picnic, a very different atmosphere, with lots of Soju (rice alcohol) and lots of smiles.

On a Sunday afternoon, on the Taedong river in Pyongyang, the North Koreans come to have a BBQ or a picnic, a very different atmosphere, with lots of Soju (rice alcohol) and lots of smiles.

Guards inside the subway taking care of the arrivals and departures of the wagons. Usually, they act like little robots, for the Polaroids they become humans!

Guards inside the subway taking care of the arrivals and departures of the wagons. Usually, they act like little robots, for the Polaroids they become humans!

In the countryside: bikes and farms. No cars, nothing else.

In the countryside: bikes and farms. No cars, nothing else.

A picture taken in the countryside, as in Pyongyang, depending on the mood of the Leaders, riding a bike is not possible for women, not aesthetic. In the countryside, there is no choice to move from one point to another…

A picture taken in the countryside, as in Pyongyang, depending on the mood of the Leaders, riding a bike is not possible for women, not aesthetic. In the countryside, there is no choice to move from one point to another…

When visiting some houses, I asked the people where they wanted to stand for the picture, everybody answered: "Below the dear Leaders' portraits". Once, I had to do the Polaroid again as the Leaders portraits were cut. Unacceptable.

When visiting some houses, I asked the people where they wanted to stand for the picture, everybody answered:

My guide asked me to throw away this Polaroid as I took the picture from the back. It is forbidden to take the picture with this angle in North Korea. Not respectful for the bronze heroes.

My guide asked me to throw away this Polaroid as I took the picture from the back. It is forbidden to take the picture with this angle in North Korea. Not respectful for the bronze heroes.

Waitress playing accordion in a restaurant. This is a tradition, once they have finished serving food, they all come to sing. Pyongyang.

Waitress playing accordion in a restaurant. This is a tradition, once they have finished serving food, they all come to sing. Pyongyang.

During a visit in a kindergarten in Hamhung, in the sleeping room for the kids.

During a visit in a kindergarten in Hamhung, in the sleeping room for the kids.

Two North Korean guides at the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum (aka the War Museum) in Pyongyang.

Two North Korean guides at the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum (aka the War Museum) in Pyongyang.

For two hours they explained with tons of lies the glorious victories of North Korea against the American imperialists, very seriously.
Then when I suggested to make a Polaroid, they became very shy and smiling.

Nurses in a kindergarden Nampo.

Nurses in a kindergarden Nampo.

A North Korean colonel with a soldier on the DMZ, in the part where you can see South Korea through binoculars. First, he refused to pause, but when he saw the Polaroid of one soldier, he ordered me to take one of him too.

A North Korean colonel with a soldier on the DMZ, in the part where you can see South Korea through binoculars. First, he refused to pause, but when he saw the Polaroid of one soldier, he ordered me to take one of him too.

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