Kamerlingh Onnes Gebouw

steenschuur 25, Leiden


Primavera Pers

17 March-1 July - Photo exhibition ‘The North Koreans’

Tourists and journalist who visit North-Korea are always accompanied by official guides who more or less follow a standard program. They intervene when visitors enter situations or places that may not be captured by the authorities. And there is much that can not be photographed. Large parts of the country are also not accessible to foreigners.


The photos shown in the book and exhibition, pretend therefore not to give a complete picture of the country; which is by definition impossible. Yet they show more than other photos because the pictures exhibited here were taken by photographers who have visited the country many times and were able to print at the right time.


This very special book – exciting and unsettling at the same time – presents “unofficial” North Korea. It shows how people live their daily lives against the backdrop of totalitarian ideology – lives of a bizarre otherworldliness within the 21st century.

This book exhibited shows more of North Korea than any other publication has done before. However, it not only has a documentary value; the lines and colours of architecture, landscape and the calligraphy of the ubiquitous slogans and announcements are often strangely aesthetic.