Gallery

A Peek Inside North Korea (Photos)

Award-winning photographer David Guttenfelder’s best shots.

David Guttenfelder/AP

Few outsiders will ever get the chance to peek inside the Hermit Kingdom—award-winning AP photographer David Guttenfelder has done so at least 25 times. On the occasion of the release of his newest photos, a look back at some of Guttenfelder's most striking images of daily life inside North Korea.

At left, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un bows his head as he arrives to review a parade of thousands of soldiers on the 70th birthday of his late father, Kim Jong-il. Under the younger Kim's rule, the country has made strides to modernize by letting in foreign press and adopting a China-style sytem of limited capitalism, but in other ways the nation still has a firm foot in the past complete with mandated rituals, limited opportunity for upward mobility, and a strong military presence in every facet of society.

David Guttenfelder/AP

Soldiers work on the side of a high rise building under construction in Pyongyang.

David Guttenfelder/AP

Cranes tower over the construction site for the Pyongyang international airport terminal.

David Guttenfelder/AP

Bicyclists ride on a rural road past farm fields on the outskirts of Pyongyang.

David Guttenfelder/AP

North Korean girls stand at attention at the end of a performance marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice.

David Guttenfelder/AP

An apartment block at dawn in central Pyongyang.

David Guttenfelder/AP

A North Korean veteran of the Korean War rests as he and his colleagues attend a mass dance party event marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice agreement in Pyongyang.

David Guttenfelder/AP

A young North Korean dancer leaps by as North Korean girls put on panda bear costumes as they prepare to perform at a gathering at a park to celebrate the 99th anniversary of the late leader Kim Il-sung's birthday in Pyongyang. April 15 is called "The Day of the Sun" in honor of the former guerrilla fighter who founded North Korea in 1948.

David Guttenfelder/AP

Bowls of boiled corn and peaches sit on the floor after they were served as a snack inside a farmhouse at Tongbong cooperative farm in Hamju County, South Hamgyong Province. It has been a tough year for North Korea's farmers, who grappled with an extended dry spell in the spring, followed by heavy rains from a series of summer storms and typhoon. The U.N. is launching a field mission across North Korea to gauge the state of the food situation in 2012.

David Guttenfelder/AP

A boy on inline skates is pulled along a road south of Kaesong.

David Guttenfelder/AP

Children lift toy barbells during play time at a school for the performing arts in Pyongyang.

David Guttenfelder/AP

A little leisure is afforded from playing a board game inside a sauna at the Haedanghwa Health Complex in Pyongyang.

David Guttenfelder/AP

North Koreans walk along a Pyongyang street as seen through a coffee-shop window curtain. On Jan. 18, 2013, foreigners were allowed for the first time to bring mobile phones into North Korea. Local service provider, Koryolink, also allowed foreigners to access the Internet on a data-capable 3G connection allowing photos such as this, taken on a iPod touch, to be shared while in North Korea.

David Guttenfelder/AP

A painting depicting North Korean soldiers ambushing and killing U.S. troops hangs on a gallery wall at an art exhibition in Pyongyang.

David Guttenfelder/AP

Marathon runners pass by a long row of North Korean soldiers as they cross a bridge in Pyongyang. North Korea hosted the 26th Mangyongdae Prize Marathon to mark the birthday of the late leader Kim Il-sung.

David Guttenfelder/AP

A traffic warden stands in Pyongyang. Behind her, military propaganda dominates the scenery.

David Guttenfelder/AP

A student learns to drive a tractor on a computerized driving simulator at the Samjiyon Schoolchildren's Palace in Samjiyon. The facility was built for children to take part in after-school programs in the arts, sciences, sports, computer, and vocational training.

David Guttenfelder/AP

After missing a turn, a man loses control of his go cart on a track at the Fun Fair in Pyongyang.

David Guttenfelder/AP

Women perform a dance routine with badminton raquets at an event to mark the birthday of Kim Il-sung at a park in Pyongyang.

David Guttenfelder/AP

North Korean soldiers and civilians pose for photos as they tour the grounds of Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the mausoleum where the bodies of the late leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il lie embalmed.

David Guttenfelder/AP

North Korean women work in a thread factory in Pyongyang.

David Guttenfelder/AP

Soldiers walk along a road in front of the truce village of Panmunjom at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which separates the two Koreas.

David Guttenfelder/AP

Citizens dance a traditional Korean folk dance in Pyongyang during celebrations to mark the country's National Day.

David Guttenfelder/AP

A North Korean man sings karaoke while his daughter plays the piano at a hotel bar in Mount Kumgang.

David Guttenfelder/AP

A swimming pool with high-dive platforms provides some recreation for the brave.

David Guttenfelder/AP

Portraits of late leaders "eternal president" Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il hang on a wall over a bank of computers at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. A quasi-religious mystique surrounding the Kim family has been developed over two generations.

David Guttenfelder/AP

A nurse comforts a baby at a nursery inside Pyongyang Maternity Hospital.