In 2017, Stephan Gladieu, a photographer living in France, managed to travel to this country to photograph the middle class people of North Korea. His photos were published in a book titled "North Korea".
It is said that in North Korea, millions of photos of the country's leaders are always watching the citizens. In every home, office, school and every public and private place in North Korea, photos of Kim Jong Il, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Un hang on the wall. Perhaps this constant presence can be interpreted as a sign of the absolute power of this family over North Korea since 1948. In the news published from this country, images and videos of the leaders of this country are generally broadcast, but Gladieu was looking for another image and intended to open his camera lens on the ordinary citizens of this country. He says: "Everyone is fascinated by North Korea, but when it comes to North Korea, only the leaders, problems of international relations, sanctions, nuclear weapons, etc. come up and not the way of life of ordinary people. I wanted to see another image of this country and show it to the audience."
Gladieu has previously worked as a war photographer and has traveled to various parts of Asia and the Middle East for photography. But the trip to North Korea created a different challenge for him. He first tried to travel to North Korea in 2006, and his visa application was rejected twice, and finally, after many explanations, he was able to travel to this country five times between 2017 and 2020.
At the beginning of the trip, his entire schedule was determined during his 15-day stay in this country, and a guide was always by his side.
Photographing ordinary people is not common except for political and social purposes, and there is no individual photograph except for leaders; Because everyone lives in the context of the same country, and despite all the limitations, this photographer put his subjects in front of the camera in a static state and full face in a way that reminds of the leaders of this country and the revolutionary spirit.
A section of the audience objected to this photographer that the photos look completely fake and that no traces of poverty and the effects of dictatorship on the people can be seen in them. In response, he says that during his trip to Korea, he was not allowed to enter the places suitable for such photography, and North Korea did not allow him to show such a picture to the world. But despite the strict supervision, it has been able to show pictures of the lives of ordinary people and the middle class of this country, which were rarely seen until now.
To see Stephen Gladio's photo gallery, please click here.