“North Korean photography is not for decoration but for a strict and controlled purpose,” says Nicolas Bonner, a collector of North Korean photography and design. Since 1993, Bonner has been traveling to North Korea under different pretexts, but always collected photos as a method to try to understand the carefully cultivated image of North Korea.
Bonner’s collection is finally available for the public to see, thanks to his new book published by Phaidon, Made in North Korea: Graphics from Everyday Life. The book isn’t limited to photography made in the DPRK, it also includes objects such as train tickets to food labels. The book raises questions about the function of imagery and aesthetics under totalitarianism.
Bonner explains his observations on photography in the DPRK to by The British Journal of Photography, “Photography in North Korea is not an art-form per se; it is used for recording purposes closely tied in with propaganda. Whilst they do have art competitions and shows in various mediums, I have never seen a photographic exhibition other than those used to extoll the virtues of the revolution. Imagery is used to propagate the belief in a strong, powerful, and prosperous country, and also that all is going well and progress is being made on all fronts.”
Carefully propagating an image of prosperity in the DPRK in 1993 was enough of a challenge, but how much longer this image hold in the minds of North Korea’s citizens?
Read the full article at: www.bjp-online.com