Having recently been freed of its longtime communist dictator, Cuba is now opening its doors to the US after a 50 year embargo. The country, as many have come to see, has been beautifully preserved—from its architecture to its ’50s-style automobiles. Like Cuba, North Korea is another communist state that is in a sort of time capsule. Although that prospect would excite many would-be-visitors, unfortunately North Korea has been under such preservation for all the wrong reasons. The communist state is recurrently in the news for its aspirations in obtaining nuclear weapons. So much so that relations with both the outside world and that of its media is slim at best. Journalists and photographers alike are constantly under heavy surveillance, to the point where North Korea has actually expelled and imprisoned those to whom they felt any sense of alarm.
By adding a sort of 3-dimensional filter, the images are a given a new perspective on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
That being said, Photographer Matjaz Tancic aims to decipher the everyday life of North Koreans for the curious world. This reality, for many, is understood as a military state—which is true. However, he puts an unexpected twist on his photographs; by adding a sort of 3-dimensional filter, the images are a given a new perspective on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Tancic’s work is in cooperation with China’s Koryo Studio, which has documenting work out of North Korea for over 20 years.
Tancic states that the government has shaped everything, “from how the place looks and how the people look.” For many of its residents, Tancic’s shots are the first time their photographs have ever been taken by a foreign photographer, which adds an element of realism and discovery for both Tancic and the North Korean citizen.