In March 2019 photographer Nicole Reed was invited to travel to Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, on assignment to photograph the city’s hotels.
Image: Nicole Reed
Her upcoming exhibition ‘Scenes from the People’s Paradise – Pyongyang’ comprises a collection of striking images taken throughout the trip and launches at SUNSTUDIOS Melbourne on July 4.
Fascinated by the city’s unusual colours, Soviet-influenced architecture, grand extravagant structures and the darkly clothed figures moving amongst them, almost like actors on a deliberately symmetrical stage, Reed was challenged as a photographer to capture moments she naturally observed within the confines of what she was permitted to photograph.
“There is a certain amount of disconnect you have to achieve to be comfortable in a place like Pyongyang. Arriving there, I had to forget about the DPRK’s status in the world and concentrate on getting to know people at ground level. Our guides were very intelligent, witty and fun-loving types, but stern when the situation demanded.
Pyongyang was once called the People’s Paradise: a place for the North Korean people to be proud of, a jewel to show off to the outside world, and a lure to repatriate Koreans who had left the country.
It is certainly beautiful on the surface, but Pyongyang is also a place that is virtually impossible to capture with truth, which I have come to terms with, as you can only photograph what you see, well, some of the time, if you are allowed.”
4 July 2019
95 Buckhurst St. South Melbourne 3205