Streams

North Koreans Have Wedding Photographers, Too

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A bride and groom in Kaesong pose for a wedding photo. From North Korea: Anonymous Country by Julia Leeb. A bride and groom in Kaesong pose for a wedding photo. From North Korea: Anonymous Country by Julia Leeb. (Photograph by Julia Leeb/Courtesy of teNeues)

North Korea is a mysterious country isolated from the rest of the world. German photojournalist Julia Leeb traveled to the closed country to better understand its culture and people. Her book North Korea:Anonymous Country is an illustrated examination of North Korea’s architecture, culture, and society. She shows celebrations for the 100th birthday of the country's founder, Kim Il Sung, and follow hundreds of North Koreans as they participate in a synchronized dance spectacle. She talks about ordinary life and everyday scenes that are are somehow quite different. 

In front of the Minsok Folk Hotel in Kaesong. From North Korea: Anonymous Country by Julia Leeb.
In front of the Minsok Folk Hotel in Kaesong. From North Korea: Anonymous Country by Julia Leeb. Photograph by Julia Leeb. Courtesy of teNeus.
A bride and groom in Kaesong pose for a wedding photo. From North Korea: Anonymous Country by Julia Leeb.
A bride and groom in Kaesong pose for a wedding photo. From North Korea: Anonymous Country by Julia Leeb. Photograph by Julia Leeb. Courtesy of teNeus.
North Korea and its protector: China. From North Korea: Anonymous Country by Julia Leeb.
North Korea and its protector: China. From North Korea: Anonymous Country by Julia Leeb. Photograph by Julia Leeb. Courtesy of teNeus.
The first communist dynasty takes its course. From North Korea: Anonymous Country by Julia Leeb.
The first communist dynasty takes its course. From North Korea: Anonymous Country by Julia Leeb. Photograph by Julia Leeb. Courtesy of teNeus.
A ruler cult with religious overtones. You can take pictures of the statues, but only the entire figure and only from the front. From North Korea: Anonymous Country by Julia Leeb.
A ruler cult with religious overtones. You can take pictures of the statues, but only the entire figure and only from the front. From North Korea: Anonymous Country by Julia Leeb. Photograph by Julia Leeb. Courtesy of teNeus.
A rare sight: A bride wearing a traditional dress in the seaport of Nampho. From North Korea: Anonymous Country by Julia Leeb.
A rare sight: A bride wearing a traditional dress in the seaport of Nampho. From North Korea: Anonymous Country by Julia Leeb. Photograph by Julia Leeb. Courtesy of teNeus.
Schoolgirl with the insignia of the “Beloved Leader.” From North Korea: Anonymous Country by Julia Leeb.
Schoolgirl with the insignia of the “Beloved Leader.” From North Korea: Anonymous Country by Julia Leeb. Photograph by Julia Leeb. Courtesy of teNeus.

 

 

 

Guests:

Julia Leeb

Comments [11]

Mark from New York

She's lucky she didn't get kicked out. I wonder if the North Korean government when they see this will be more strict and more on their toes...

Sep. 05 2014 09:29 PM
genejoke from Brooklyn

"Defenestration." That's an easy one. To throw someone out the window. Ex: Al Yankovic tossed Harvey the Wonder Hamster over his shoulder and out the window.
Anyone familiar with Weird Al ("AL TV" on MTV in the 80s) would know that!

Aug. 20 2014 01:50 PM
Anita from Manhattan

Ms. Leeb describes her experience of huge, properly appointed but empty restaurants and theaters; mandatory drivers and "guides"; restrictions on what or how she could photograph. You let them stand in a vacuum without commenting. I was surprised that you did not point out that this is what the USSR was like fifty years ago. Remember the Intourist experience? Historical context is important. North Korea may be unique in today's world but not that different from Greater Russia and China in the second half of the 20th century.

Aug. 20 2014 01:29 PM
tom LI

Ed from Larch - and so? You know the old adage, when speaking a point should at some point be made. Wheres yours?

Aug. 20 2014 01:03 PM
Sredni Vashtar from the Shed Out Back

I would not characterize Korean cuisine as "mostly" barbecue. The New York restaurant experience, which I presume is the basis for Mr. Lopate's remark, does not accurately encapsulate it any more than Chinese or Italian restaurants reflect their respective cuisines, something I'm sure the uber-cultivated ;) Mr. Lopate would readily agree with.

Aug. 20 2014 01:01 PM

Camp 14, that is all I have to say.

Aug. 20 2014 01:00 PM
Sredni Vashtar from the Shed Out Back

Korea is an acceptable English name for all parties. The Chosun question was pretty lame, Mr. Lopate. You really need to do some basic prep before interviews and not rely so much on background summaries provided by your interns and staff. It's especially transparent when you spout some factoid and attempt to cover up your lack of effort by adding, "isn't it?" or "aren't they?", a long-time verbal tic on this program.

Aug. 20 2014 12:54 PM
Sredni Vashtar from the Shed Out Back

Korea is an acceptable English name for all parties. The Chosun question was pretty lame, Mr. Lopate. You really need to do some basic prep before interviews and not rely so much on background summaries provided by your interns and staff. It's especially transparent when you spout some factoid and attempt to cover up your lack of effort by adding, "isn't it?" or "aren't they?", a long-time verbal tic on this program.

Aug. 20 2014 12:52 PM
Sredni Vashtar from the Shed Out Back

The Catholic Church is an extremely hierarchical organization and has been for millennia, so I would not say the Korean power structure was threatened by "it's [sic] equality" so much as by subjects owing allegiance to anyone besides the established authorities.

Aug. 20 2014 12:32 PM
Ed from Larchmont

When the pope arrived in South Korea, North Korea lobbed four missiles into the sea as a ... greeting.

Aug. 20 2014 08:53 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Having just watched the pope's wonderful 5-day trip to South Korea, really a trip for the whole of Asia, where he celebrated Mass for the Asian Youth Day, and where he beatified 123 Korean martyrs (they were martyred because the Church by it's equality threatened the social structure of Korea at the time - all lay people, one priest), and where he said his last Mass there as a Mass for the reconciliation of North and South Korea - South Korea is about 10% Catholic - we learned that although there are no priests in North Korea (except hidden short visitors) there is a group of underground Catholics in North Korea - but of course no one knows how large since they are completely suppressed.

Aug. 20 2014 08:23 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.