Perhaps The Most Striking Photo Taken In North Korea Last Year

Amongst the newly announced winners of the 2012 World Press Photo Contest, you'll find spectacular images from last year's most shocking news events. But some of the most stirring photos are solemn and sober, like this photo, taken in the North Korean capital Pyongyang just two months before the sudden death of Kim Jong-il.

Taken by Bosnian photographer Damir Sagolj with a 5D Mark II on October 5, the photo is as beautiful as it is eerie — the illuminated, Big Brother-like portrait of Kim Il-sung (Kim Jong-il's father and predecessor) looms as the sole source of light in photo. It's as if all of the energy contained in the drab buildings framing the portrait had been sacrificed to ensure that the departed leader's face would shine in light forever.

But the grimmer reality is maybe that simply there is simply is no power for the other windows to shine. While North Korea has made some progress in improving its electrical infrastructure, much of the country remains without power at night. Though this image is generated from a satellite data that's nearly 20 years old, current data indicates that the situation remains mostly the same. Sagolj's gorgeous photo is a close-up to the satellite's long, establishing shot.

The photo's aerial perspective only contributes to the surreal effect of the photo. It's almost like Sagolj could sense trouble on the horizon. I have no idea what was going through Sagolj's head when he took this photo, but I suspect that as with all great news photography, the undoctored-reality recorded by his camera's image sensor says more than Sagolj intended.

Head over to World Press Photo to see more prize-winning photos taken in during last year's earth-shaking events in Japan, Egypt, Libya and more. [World Press Photo and MSNBC]

Image: Damir Sagolj/Reuters



    It actually looks like its from a video game. Very eerie.

    This is due to the USA not letting North Korea have nuclear power (according to the NK news).

      now 'thats' funny... yes blame the dirty old USofA for the ills of a madman who would have rather ruined his own country than accept he might be wrong..

        It's not that Nth Korea doesn't have power, Nth Korea doesn't have people!
        They all ate each other or more correctly the Army ate them to get through last winter.

        That's just as much mythology as the NK political machine invents.
        It never comes down to one "madman" except in comic books and crappy action films.
        The USA is indeed just as much to blame for the initiation and continuation of that situation- with its prime role in the war and subsequent containment due to irrational fear of communism.

        The fact is that political leadership and social infrastructure is just WAY too well entrenched over there after all these decades that it will take a LOT of time to thaw. No one person can achieve that. It will happen eventually though.

    fantastic picture - well done to the photographer... must of been very dangerous but the rewards are well worth it....

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now