The Grand Tour
A hugely ambitious project, taking Magnum photographer Carl De Keyzer on a 60 night tour
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) is one of the hardest places in the world to photograph. Tourists have to follow strict guidelines and photographers are not allowed to go on professional trips. Taking De Keyzer in on an approved photographic tour allowed him a unique view of almost everything there is to see as a foreign visitor to the DPRK, giving outsiders the opportunity to see the country through the lens of a globally renowned multi award-winning photographer.
With more than two decades of experience in the DPRK and trusting relationships, we were able to convince the North Koreans that this would be a worthwhile project. Because of De Keyzer’s partnership with Koryo and because both parties were upfront about the aims of the trip from the beginning, he was allowed the time and space to properly observe the places he visited.
Photographer Carl De Keyzer was on a 60 night tour to every single one of North Korea’s provinces, making him the first Western photographer to ever do so. The photographs were for Koryo’s dedicated DPRK-travel website (koryotours.com), as well as his own portfolio. The work was shown publicly for the first time in summer 2017, at American University Museum, Washington, accompanied by his book D.P.R. Korea: Grand Tour.
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Tower of the Juche Idea
Local guide and expert of the Pyongyang skyline in traditional Korean dress.
Tower of the Juche Idea
Pyongyang citizens practice for a mass rally beneath the Tower of the Juche Idea, Pyongyang. Such rallies can involve tens of thousands of people, and take significant time and energy to plan, practice, and coordinate.
Tower of the Juche Idea
View of East Pyongyang — home of many of the city’s universities and hospitals — from the Tower of the Juche Idea. The red words in the foreground say ‘one heart’, and form half of a slogan reading ‘single-hearted unity’. The hammer, sickle, and writing bush of the Party Foundation Monument can be seen in the left background.
Rehabilitation Metro Station
Entrance to Rehabilitation Metro Station, Pyongyang. The Pyongyang metro is one of the deepest systems in the world and is made up of two lines with 16 stations.
Lake Chon, or Heaven Lake, sits in the massive caldera of Mt. Paekdu, Ryanggang Province.
A trolley-bus attendant; Chongjin, North Hamgyong Province. While the number of automobiles, including taxis, has increased in recent years, city dwellers make extensive use of public transportation.
A metro attendant signals the all clear; Pyongyang. The city’s older metro cars were originally imported from West Berlin. Today, domestically produced cars are being introduced.
Children’s Day (1 June)
Rungna Islet. International Children’s Day.
Science and Technology Complex
Students pay their respects to a portrait of President Kim Il Sung and General Kim Jong Il.
Chonsam-ri Cooperative Farm
Farm children transplant rice seedlings into a paddy field in the spring; Chonsam-ri Cooperative Farm, Kangwon Province. Rice transplanting is a major annual task and city dwellers are called upon to provide supplemental labour during one of the busiest times of the year on the farm.
Party foundation day celebrations.
Rodong Sinmun, the official paper of the Korean Workers’ Party, on display in the metro; Pyongyang. It has the largest circulation in the country. Other newspapers include the Pyongyang News, Sports New, and Children’s Union News.
Metro staff wipe down a car Pyongyang. The metro is closed two days a month for full-scale maintenance.
A train arriving at one of the smaller metro stations in Pyongyang. The capital’s larger metro stations are reminiscent of the Moscow Subway with their elaborate interiors of chandeliers, mosaics, and ornate columns. Smaller stations are more modest, but nevertheless have their own unique mosaics, and often accompanying bronze work.
Student-organized mass dance at the Indoor Stadium, Pyongyang. Usually held on holidays, mass dances take place at locations around Pyongyang and other cities, and can have anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand participants. Foreigner visitors are often encouraged to join in.
Tongbong Cooperative Farm
Farm store at Tongbong Cooperative Farm, South Hamgyong Province. The farm store sells homewares, school supplies, and farm-grown produce.
Changgwangwon Health Complex
Swimming lessons; Changgwangwon Health Complex, Pyongyang. There is a yearly swimming competition across the Taedong River, which bisects the capital.
April 25th House of Culture
Father and son sit down for a rest in front of the April 25th House of Culture; Pyongyang. April 25th is the founding date of the Korean People’s Army, and the enormous structure is used for important military and political meetings, as well as performances.
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