Taking Photos in North Korea

Rules of taking Pictures in North Korea

Hi, my name is Mayur Rele I am a New Jersey-based nature photographer. Today we will talk about the condition of rules and regulations in North Korea about photography. North Korea is the most isolated, secretive nation in the world that is lead by the Dictator – Kim Jong-un.  North Korea remains on the front page of the newspaper regarding the speculation of its nuclear power.

Access to the Country

North Korea doesn’t allow tourists, journalists, and foreign photographs in their country so the hardest thing to do is gaining access to the country. Getting access to the country is nearly impossible but many journalists and tourists get permission every year, says Mayur Rele. You have to submit tons of paperwork including photos and serial numbers of camera equipment.

Moving within the Country

The journalist cannot move freely in this country, access to many places is restricted for foreign tourists and journalists.

Rules for shooting and Clicking Pictures

As a photographer, I never faced such tight rules and regulations for photography as they have in North Korea. The major and the most unique rule they have is capturing only full-frame images of Kim II-sung and Kim Jong-Il statues and iconography, you cannot crop the feet off the statues. You can’t cut a bit of the corner.

1. No photos of the military

Not like any country the photography of the military is not allowed in North Korea and is strictly prohibited.

2. No Photos of the Construction Site

This is largely due coz the military works on the construction sites in North Korea.

3. Always Listen to your Guide

While in North Korea always listen to your guides, if they say you should not pics here you should not because that can be a major problem for you. This includes many gift shops, museums, or the portraits of leaders.

4. No Photos within the Cabin or from the Windows of Domestic Flights

You cannot take pictures from the window of planes within the country and you cannot record your journey.

Can I share my Photos Online?

The question that is asked very frequently after visiting North Korea is that can you share your photos online? Yes, you can share the photos on Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms. But never photos that you clicked while sneaking. This can create trust between you and your guide.

Camera Checking at North Korean Customs

In North Korea, it is common that if you are an outsider, that your equipment will get checked and you cannot refuse that in any situation.

Places that are Photography Permitted

There are places where you can get access to photography some sacred sites like Kumsusan Palace of the sun or performances like Pyongyang symphony, says Mayur Rele. But as soon you are inside a museum, train, or other prohibited places, put your camera away as soon as anyone catches you having a camera with you. Camera freedom is liberal in Pyongyang but the guidelines can vary from one place to another, city or region.

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