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What North Korea Looks Like From Pyongyang to the Countryside

A tourist's search for everyday life in the hermit kingdom.

Most outsiders only see the North Korea that Kim Jong Un's regime wants them to see: Pyongyang's grand parks and squares filled with soldiers and happy, well-fed citizens. But there remains a more hidden side of the Hermit Kingdom, one that is rural, poor, and woefully under-captured.

British photographer Pierre Depont has taken seven trips to North Korea as part of an ongoing attempt to document the lives of "everyday" people from the world's most reclusive nation.

"The first time I went was from complete curiosity, just to go somewhere off the beaten track so to speak," Depont said. "Then I wanted to go back to see some of the countryside, since most tours just hang around Pyongyang."

Depont traveled the country taking photographs during his latest excursion in early September, and, crucially, he did so as a tourist. Journalists who visit the Hermit Kingdom are closely watched by government "minders" who restrict what they can see and where they can go. Depont said that as a tourist he enjoyed a relative degree of freedom to explore — that is until he left Pyongyang to tour the coastal city of Wonsan and the industrial hub Hamhung in the north.

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