What Life Is REALLY Like in a Socialist Dictatorship: Photographer Risks His Life to Take Pictures of the Real North Korea

A daring photographer has risked detention to smuggle a series of stunning images of North Korea out of the secretive state.

Michal Huniewicz captured the photographs he knew Kim Jong-un would not want you to see during a trip to the country, before sneaking them out on hidden memory cards.

Unlike the polished photographs peddled by the state-run news agency, Mr Huniewicz’s images give a raw insight into a poverty-ridden country controlled by a dictator. 

He went to North Korea from China last year and travelled with a tour guide – one of the conditions of being allowed a visit.

Mr Huniewicz evaded his minder’s watchful eye to take these photographs, which give a unique glimpse into North Koreans’ everyday lives.

Some are pictured working in the fields, while others are seen working in the squeaky-clean capital, Pyongyang.

In one image, street cleaners sweep pavements under the watchful eye of a soldier in one of Pyongyang’s parks, and others reveal waitresses working in restaurants where propaganda images are broadcast around the clock on television.

A photograph of a customs form reveals what cannot be brought into the country. Mr Huniewicz revealed laptops are searched for the Hollywood film The Interview, a comedy about Kim Jong-un, which is banned in North Korea.

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Customs form stating what is an isn’t allowed in the country. Laptops are even subject to search and may be confiscated if they contain pornography or guides to exploring North Korea.

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A traffic guard stands watch, despite the fact that very few people can afford to drive cars.

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Workers sweep an already meticulous floor.

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A local store which foreigners are not allowed to shop in.

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The countryside, which is a great representation of what most of North Korea looks like.

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A military truck driving by.

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It is very difficult to take photos of soldiers in North Korea, given that photography in general is illegal. This, like most of these images, was a secret snap.

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Despite strict laws and appearances, this image sums up much of how North Korean life really is.

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Uniformed construction workers carry materials.

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Guard stops travelers as a train passes through.

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A guard watches over these women to make sure they do their job.