This photographer was banned from his country for life after taking this photo!

French photographer Eric Lafforgue travels the globe. He has always been attracted by foreign nations, especially those in remote regions, and when he was around 10 years old, he traveled to Yemen, Ethiopia, and Djibouti in addition to Africa.

He began his photography career in 2006, and soon after that, publications from all over the world, including National Geography, started using his photos to illustrate the cultures of Papua New Guinea and Ethiopia.

I visited North Korea six times.

The images he took documenting North Korea’s state of affairs are among his most well-known pieces. It is prohibited from being broadcast to the public by the government.

Six times in the four years between 2008 and 2012, he traveled to North Korea.

He was able to get numerous images of the nation. Some of these photographs, of course, were prohibited from leaving the country, but Lafforgue was able to smuggle them out on a USB flash drive.

Some of these contained images that Lafforgue was prohibited from taking or that the minders instructed him to remove.

Malnourished people, whether they are young or old, are among the photos that are prohibited because they are a symptom of poverty. It’s also forbidden to take photos of people dealing with difficulties, such as those who commute to and from work every day on bikes for hours.

Eric was also instructed to remove the snapshot he had taken just before the power went out. He was informed that the American embargo on North Korea is the cause of blackouts. Lafforgue declared:

Everything that leaves North Korea is under the regime’s supervision. Even I am allowed to take pictures of happy children because it is beneficial for the nation.

I took those images because I want to capture the genuine happiness that exists within each person. Despite being brainwashed, North Koreans lead normal lives.

North Korea’s administration firmly maintains control over its public image, both at home and abroad. Due to Eric Lafforgue’s photographs, the world was able to observe North Korea for what it truly is.

The North Korean authorities didn’t enjoy having a bad reputation exposed and pleaded with Lafforgue to remove the pictures, but in vain.

Any visitor to North Korea must follow the government’s instructions and go on a planned tourist trip. These tours are only intended to highlight the positive aspects of the nation.

Tourists are not allowed to observe how the troops are made to work in the fields, how the poor live in rural areas, or how youngsters are used as slaves, according to the minders.

I declined because I displayed both the positive and negative sides of North Korea. Just as I would with any nation I travel to. They did not appreciate the fact that I wouldn’t make an exception for North Korea.

Eric Lafforgue

Lafforgue engaged with the villagers when he was in North Korea to see how they felt about their leaders.

Many areas of North Korea are far from the Western Standard and have harsh living conditions.

They informed me, with tears in their eyes, that despite their difficult lives, they revered the beloved leaders even if they occasionally went without food.

Eric Lafforgue was then given a lifetime travel restriction to North Korea.

Visitors to North Korea are always given a tour as soon as they arrive. In addition, the guides give the visitors access to more information than the journalists who seem to be tourists—a strategy that Lafforgue employed. However, issues persisted as they did each time he visited the nation.

He would be led to the predetermined locations on the same organized tour. Lafforgue started showing up at big occasions like the Arirang Mass Games in order to avoid this.

North Koreans view participation in the Mass games, an annual event that tells the story of North Korea while including complicated synchronized acts, as an honor.

In North Korea, where the government strictly regulates everything, including communications, the country is known for having the strictest censorship.

The nation consistently receives the lowest rating on Reporters Without Borders’ index of press freedom. The North Korean government completely owns and controls all media outlets.

This indicates that the government controls how it wants to be perceived by the outside world regardless of what is reported in the media by the Korean Central News Agency.

The promotion of political propaganda and the personality cult of Kim II-Sung, Kim Jong-il, and Kim Jong-un—the grandfather, father, and son who once controlled and still rule North Korea—take up a significant percentage of media resources.

Only a few high-ranking government officials have access to the internet, while only a few tightly regulated computers are available in institutions.

Other than these two possibilities, the remaining North Korean citizens might only be permitted access to the highly restricted Kwangmyong1 intranet, which is held by the government.

Only a restricted group of elite enterprises, colleges, grade schools, and other educational institutions have access to the nation’s intranet.

The 3G phone network allows visitors to the nation to access the internet. The government’s Korea Computer Center filters the Kwangmyong intranet, allowing access to only content considered appropriate.

The North Koreans think they live a regular life, just like anyone else everywhere in the globe, despite having no links to the outside world. Some people have, however, been able to leave the nation, and they have terrifying tales to tell about their previous lives there.

The 38 illegal images that North Korean defector Eric Lafforgue sneaked out of the country provide a rare glimpse into daily life there.

Media coverage in the nation is hampered by an extraordinary lack of accurate information, and the majority of the information regarding North Korea is typically filtered through neighboring South Korea.

The information cannot be trusted, though, because of the ongoing disputes between the two. The photographs by Eric Lafforgue at least give us a general impression of North Koreans’ daily lives.

Even a lifetime ban seems like a modest price to pay for the unvarnished truth of North Korean citizens’ daily existence.


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