27 Banned Photos of North Korea You Were Never Supposed To See

It’s no secret that North Korea is one of the most isolated nations in the world. It’s downright unbelievable that a photographer by the name of Eric Lafforgue managed to smuggle some rare photos out of the secluded country. The government maintains strict protocols when it comes to what they wish to display to the world.


The North Korean government loves to project that their country is this modern nation as seen in the photo above; until they realize there isn’t actually any electricity. Hoping to prevent themselves from being embarrassed, they’ll ask you to delete it.

Anything short of the government’s expectations could mean a loss of face to the North Korean government. These are the images North Korea forbade Eric to reveal.

North Korea doesn’t want you to know that bathing in rivers is quite common in their country.
Another photo North Korean officials asked Lafforgue to delete was this image of a subway.
These children are working outside and collecting material. North Korea forbade this since they do not wish to display any sign of poverty in their nation.
Hard economic times in North Korea forces people to work in the fields.
The children aren’t used to seeing cars in North Korea. They only just began to appear which is why children continue to play in the streets. Transportation is limited due to government restrictions and economic problems. 
Not only do they not want you to know of their poverty, they prefer you not know of their wealth either. That is why this image of a Mercedes was banned.
North Korean officials even requested that Lafforgue not use the flash in his camera believing that it would frighten street vendors.
This rural bathroom’s water well shows how severe life is in the country.
There’s no sign of transportation here which leaves North Korean soldiers to hitchhike.
They also refuse to show their soldiers relaxing at any given moment. 
Malnutrition is everywhere in North Korea. When compared to South Koreans, North Koreans are much smaller in size.
There are no safety regulations protecting workers.
The government allows for performing animals to be photographed but not of the crowd that is largely made up of soldiers.
You also can’t shop in its bleak supermarkets unless you’re among the elite. However, they do stock Evian.
Lafforgue was asked to delete this photo by officials because they feared this mother and son would be depicted as homeless.
Photos of statues from the rear is also forbidden.
Pictures of the North Korean Army are forbidden.
North Korea presents a strong image of the army to its citizens and a soldier participating in this type of labor goes against that image.
The people of North Korea are required to attend monuments during the Kimjongilia festival which is a festival for flowers named after the deceased dictator Kim Jong-il.
Grey markets allow you to unofficially distribute a good. Here, you see the grey market for candy and smokes.
Government is in charged of maintaining building exteriors.
Another odd rule in North Korea is that brooms are to never be placed at the base of official statues.
North Korea hates the image of its people picking grass for food.
Anything that is broken is forbidden to be shown anywhere. Riders are pushing a broken down bus.
When the power is out — which happens quite regularly — the North Korean government blames the American embargo.
The image that broke the camels back: this image of a soldier sleeping in public got Eric Lafforgue banned.

We thank Eric Lafforgue for catching these rare images of this isolated place. You can also check out more pictures of his over at his Flickr page. Don’t forget to give them a like and a share with your friends on Facebook before you go. (h/t Life Buzz) (photo credits: Eric Lafforgue)