Propaganda faces off with images from photojournalists and artists at an exhibition depicting life in North Korea at Columbia College Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Photography.
For the most part, North Korea remains a mystery save for an odd array of propaganda photos. The highly-isolated country is sometimes referred to as the “Hermit Kingdom,” so any glimpse of what life is like for its citizens is irresistibly intriguing.
“North Korean Perspectives“ juxtaposes official imagery from the country’s press agency, KCNA, with artwork created using these images, and with less-staged photo ops from international photojournalists. The exhibition invites viewers to form their own opinions about the country, after viewing the official and unofficial versions.
“I do not think one could hope to show a reality of any place, least of all through photography,” the exhibition’s curator, Marc Prüst, told the Huffington Post. “But photographs can show a version of the truth, an opinion, a point of view.”
Despite the efforts of North Korea’s ruler, Kim Jong-un, to keep tight control over his country, less-than-flattering portrayals have cropped up in recent months.
This past spring, photojournalist Nick Danziger presented a rare selection of photos of daily life in the communist nation at a British Council exhibition.
“North Korean Perspectives” is on view at the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago, July 23–October 4, 2015.
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