AP Photographer's Instagram Pictures Show What Life Is Like In North Korea

North Korea Instagram

Photo: David Guttenfelder/AP

Back in February, North Korea’s local service provider Koryolink started allowing foreigners to access the internet on their mobile phones for the first time ever.David Guttenfelder, the Associated Press’ chief photographer in Asia, immediately began posting pictures from inside Pyongyang to his Instagram account. They quickly went viral.

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The pictures show snapshots of daily life in the country’s capital, from propaganda posters lining the streets to what bar food looks like in Pyongyang. 

A veteran photographer and World Press Photo Award winner, Guttenfelder has traveled to North Korea more than 20 times since first accompanying former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 2000 when she met the now-deceased leader, Kim Jong Il. “During that trip, we were told not to take photos from the bus we traveled in and my hotel window was covered with a black plastic sheet,” Guttenfelder wrote on his blog.

Today, he is able to upload his images in real-time to his 74,000 followers.

“I feel I can help open a window into a place that would otherwise rarely be seen by outsiders,” he said on the Instagram blog. “As one of the few international photographers who has ever had regular access to the country, I feel a huge responsibility to share what I see and to show it as accurately as I can.”

But so far, the new change will only affect visiting foreigners — North Koreans do not have access to the new internet service.

Inside The Grand People's Study House, where students work at computers in winter coats.

A view from the Grand People's Study House looking towards two Kim mosaics and a 3,000-unit apartment complex.

Two women tend to infants in the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital.

Guttenfelder even ran into Dennis Rodman on his way to North Korea in a Beijing airport.

An in-flight meal on Air Koryo, North Korea's airline.

Lights flash in an empty karaoke room in Pyongyang.

A bear sits on concrete and looks up at Guttenfelder at a Pyongyang zoo.

Caricatures of American and Japanese soldiers in a Pyongyang classroom.

North Korean commuters walk past propaganda posters in the capital.

School boys play with Guttenfelder's camera at Mansu Hill, a major North Korean monument.

Winter in Ryongsan-ri, a North Korean village south of Pyongyang.

A mass synchronised swimming performance Guttenfelder witnessed in the capital city.

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