Fotopedia North Korea: A Glimpse into a Secret World

We’ve reviewed several apps from Fotopedia in the past, and we always appreciate the gorgeous, unique photos that they display in each app. This time, Fotopedia and Eric Lafforgue are sharing a glimpse into the most secretive country on the planet.

Fotopedia North Korea is a photo showcasing app that shares over 1,000 professional photos taken all across North Korea. Photographer Eric Lafforgue visited North Korea four times between 2008 and 2010 and shot pictures of everything he could find, from simple factory workers, nurses, and soldiers to splendidly dressed dancers and circus performers.

As in other Fotopedia apps, the all of the pictures are organized into separate categories for quick and easy browsing. In the opening menu, you’ll be able to select from the slideshow option, which shows randomly selected photos; the Airang Festival, a colorful artistic performance; and Propaganda, which is a selection of photos of the Worker’s Party of North Korea.

Each image has certain tags at the bottom, and these tags can be selected to show more photographs in the same category. For instance, tapping on the tag “North Korean Children” will show you all the pictures Lafforgue took of children, while tapping “Pyongyang” will display all images from the capital city. It’s an effective and intuitive interface design that’s great for exploring all of the different pictures.

Each image has a toolbar that lets you shuffle photos, star favorites, check Wikipedia for more information, look at a map that shows the location of the picture, and search for other photos in the various categories.

All of the photographs are well composed and diverse. I was struck by the contrast between the stark, neutral looking uniforms and the flowing, rainbow-colored clothing, both of which seemed equally fitting in the country, even side by side.

One woman in a gorgeous orange dress (a hanbok) strolls through an idyllic park in Pyongyang, while a sweaty factory worker in Nampho stares listlessly off into the distance, and a petite female soldier in the Korean People’s Army poses for the camera in the North Pyongan Province. These photographs, like all of the others, are from a myriad of places and give an incredible view into the lives of the North Korean people.

This app is a special treat because North Korea is one of the few places on earth that hasn’t been fully explored and documented by photographers, thanks to its secretive nature and carefully monitored borders. Fotopedia North Korea is free, and absolutely worth downloading to see a part of North Korea that the majority of the world hasn’t seen before. Fotopedia North Korea is currently available for download in the App Store, at no cost to you.

About Juli: Contact me via Twitter: @julipuli