Traveling to unusual places and destinations off the beaten path has always intrigued me. The general perception of North Korea is of a forbidden land, possibly dangerous, and unknown to most people because of few images that have not been officially approved. It is that mystery of the unknown, unseen and forbidden that made me want to experience this place for myself.
Having traveled to other countries with tight governmental controls and strict photographic policies, I kept an open mind and my expectations low. Walking with my assigned guides through the streets of Pyongyang, I quickly learned what I could not photograph, but with some polite diverting conversations with my guides, I was able to surreptitiously capture images that would not have been officially approved.
From the very empty streets where cars were the exception—except for the elite in their Mercedes Benz and a must for foreign visitors like me— people walking or bicycling were the rule no matter what the weather. Crowds gathered only to rehearse endlessly for large public displays to celebrate the communist state and their revered leader, and few North Koreans were in the local restaurants, bars and shops, I felt I was an outsider, a foreigner under watchful eyes, truly in an otherworldly place.