Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cool Pictures of North Korea

So, I decided to google “Why don’t Koreans smile in photographs?” This is interesting to me because our main manufacturer from Korea, Mr. Kim, always wants to take a picture with us when he visits my family. He usually brings his family, too. When we take the picture my family and I are always smiling and he and his family never are smiling. So, I was just curious as to why they don’t smile – if it’s a cultural thing or something, or maybe just that this Mr. Kim and his family don’t smile in photographs. For those who know this answer, let me know.
Anyway, I came across this article with cool pictures of North Korea. I learned that there are propaganda villages in North Korea near the DMZ. They are fake villages that look very pleasing to live in, but no one actually lives there of course, because that’s not really North Korea, but it paints a nice picture for those trying to get a glimpse of North Korea. According to Wikipedia, the town is covered with loudspeakers that used to blare North Korean propaganda. I didn’t know that.
I also thought picture 11 was interesting. It is of a road. The caption reads: Eric Lafforgue: "The highways in North Korea are huge and carless. Planes could land there. You can even see kids playing in the middle of the road. Security is a major problem because children and old people are not used to seeing cars, so they cross over the roads at any time, without watching out for oncoming traffic. The only cars you can see sometimes on highways are military ones, and most of them are stopped by the side of road, broken down. Or you can also see brand new Mercedes cars belonging to the North Korean officials passing by at very high speeds." (© Eric Lafforgue) #
Anyway, I am glad I don’t live in North Korea.


  1. I really love photography and I have really enjoyed looking at the different photos of North Korea that have been showing up on this blog. It is cool to see pictures and learn about their different way of life. Out of this group of photos the one that I thought was the most interesting was the one of the female soldier out in the middle of nowhere and the photographer's comment that a lot of soldiers are seen alone in the middle of nowhere.

  2. As to your question of why Koreans do not smile for photographs, I can offer you what I learned while on my mission. Every missionary comes across this phenomenon and asks the same question. As I had it explained to me, it is something of a habit that has carried on since the introduction of photography to Korea, and it was adopted from the Western mode. I had not thought of it before, but if you think for a moment, Westerners, too, rarely ever smiled for photos when photography was introduced. Koreans simply wished to emulate the austere, picture-taking pose of the Westerners, and the habit has carried on since then. Also, Koreans in general do not tend to be facially expresive--why THAT is, I have no clue! Sorry:)

  3. Thanks for your responses. Daniel, your reasoning makes sense to me! I never thought of that either, but you are right, Westerners didn't smile in the late 1800's, early 1900's in photographs. I heard that they didn't smile because it took so long to actually take the picture. I don't know if that's true, but that's what I've heard. Thanks for your comments!