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Photographer Given Rare Access to North Korea

Photographer Mark Edward Harris's vivid snapshots of everyday life in North Korea are compiled in a new book.
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Photographer Mark Edward Harris's vivid snapshots of everyday life in North Korea are compiled in a new book.

In 2005, a handful of Americans had the rare opportunity to visit North Korea as tourists.

The North Korean government invited foreigners to watch an elaborate, highly choreographed gymnastic event known as the mass games in the capital city of Pyongyang.

During the games, thousands of school children hold up placards to form mosaics, such as a picture of Kim Il Sung.

American photographer Mark Edward Harris attended the games.

He returned to photograph North Korea several times, gathering vivid snapshots of everyday life throughout the country.

His photographs are collected in a new book: Inside North Korea.

Harris speaks with Debbie Elliott about his travels in North Korea and the spectacle of the mass games.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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