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October 6, 2010
VII, The Magazine, in partnership with Lens Culture, released a rare glimpse inside contemporary North Korea, with this colorful slideshow. The soundtrack is a trippy heroic anthem called, "The Unforgettable Top Of Mount Osung" and is recorded by The Korean People's Army Merited Chorus.
Here is what editor Scott Thode says by way of introduction to this piece:
"North and South Korea held their first military talks in two years this week and North Korea released a photograph of the heir apparent to Kim Jong-il, his son, Kim Jong-un. VII The magazine decided to take a look at the North Korea which has systematically isolated itself from the world and applied communist thinking to the utmost extreme. The Kim regime has vanquished any traces of capitalism, foreign imperialism, and the enemies--real and imagined--of the radical left. Even as communism collapsed elsewhere and over a million people died of starvation in the 1990s, the government did not waver from its course. The result is a paranoid militarized society, an astounding cult of personality, and the formal absence of any individualism.
"Today, as ever, much of what is said about North Korea is based more on speculation than first hand reporting. Posing as an investor looking to open a chocolate factory, Tomas van Houtryve managed to slip into North Korea twice. He faced hours of interrogation, was threatened by appartchiks, and at one point was almost exposed as a journalist. The bold tactics gave him access to factories, hospitals and government offices, some of which had never before been seen by a Western photographer."