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This footage from North Korea is what Instagram Video was made for

Pyongyang is closed to the world, but it's open on Instagram.


Kris Holt


Posted on Jul 30, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 10:21 am CDT

Just what happens inside North Korea is a mystery to much of the world.

But thanks to phone-wielding travelers and journalists, we’ve gotten a remarkable look inside North Korea in recent times as photos and videos come to Instagram. A few months back, North Korea temporarily enabled 3G data connections for travellers. The Associated Press’s David Guttenfelder and Jean Lee sent the first few Instagrams over 3G at the time.

This week, the duo was back in the news after sharing some clips through Instagram’s new video-sharing tool. Those Guttenfelder uploaded from events marking 60 years since the Korean War armistice were particularly stunning.

Yet there are many others who’ve taken and shared photos and videos from Pyongyang and elsewhere in the country. How much of it is for show (depending on what the country allows foreigners to see) and how much of it is genuine is almost moot given how remarkable many of the images are. Drew Kelly has an excellent feed including many photos from his time teaching in Pyongyang. He’s currently back in the U.S., but is returning to North Korea next month.

Tour agency Uritours curates a feed of images taken as employees guide tourists round the country. Journalists such as Agence France-Presse photographer Ed Jones and NBC News’s Ann Curry have recently posted North Korea images as well.

A number of users have shared images and photos from the border with South Korea at the Korean Demilitarized Zone. The color of the ground changes at the boundary. Meanwhile, others have posted clips from inside tunnels apparently created for the north to launch a surprise attack on the south.

Skimming through tags like #northkorea and #pyongyang for posts from the last day or so alone reveals a remarkable look inside North Korea.

H/T Death and Taxes Mag | Photo by @gtseaton/Instagram

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*First Published: Jul 30, 2013, 5:47 pm CDT