This American man went to North Korea and shared the experience on Instagram

American Taylor Pemberton went on his summer holidays this month. But Taylor is two things: brave enough to travel to the recently-accessible land of North Korea, and a professional photographer who captured the experience on Instagram.

This American man went to North Korea and shared the experience on Instagram

The resulting images were spot-checked by North Korean officials during the heavily-supervised trip, but still offer an insight into the notoriously secret nation.

Taylor said the trip was "an incredibly confusing, complicated, enlightening, and joyous study of culture ... a world and society that raised more questions than it solved."

Accompanied by a military liaison and monitored at all times, Taylor told the BBC all his camera equipment was screened on entry, and he was told when to wake up, when to go to sleep, and when he could eat.

Explaining the concept of the internet to locals was also a challenge, he said. The people are aware of the technology - North Korea has its own internal network for government information - but he said the concept of free exchange of ideas was not well understood.

Public information on display on Pyongyang was limited to newspaper pages lauding the government, he said in one photo caption. "It’s difficult to wrap your head around the sheer magnitude this imposes for an ecosystem and it’s people," he said, and posted a news article from the Pyongyang Times on the existence of broccoli.

"One of the first things you do in North Korea is go pay respect to the great Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il," he wrote of a photo of two 22-metre-tall bronze statues, which he was required to lay flowers beneath and bow to.

"You could argue that the two figures depicted here are North Korea’s equivalent of Jesus, the Pope, the Dalai Lama, and Gandhi combined."

Taylor, as a photographer, found it was very difficult to speak to or photograph the locals in a genuine surrounding, as tourists were separated from the main populace. From standardised clothing to the ubiquitous presence of political pins on the lapel of every citizen, he had only a dew chances to snap locals candidly.

"My perspective into North Korea is only one small version of what exists. I want to encourage a wider opportunity to view the complexity in this country and hope to reveal a fair picture that swings both ways," Taylor said.

He has continued to add new photos to his Instagram stream over the last few days, which is certainly worth checking for updates.

- BreakingNews.ie & Taylor Pemberton on Instagram, via BBC Newsbeat.

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