Most North Korean propaganda photos show its capital, Pyongyang, in the throes of military celebration, with tanks rolling down its streets and people cheering.
That’s what makes the recent photographs by AFP’s Ed Jones so striking. Jones traveled to the northeastern part of the country in late November and photographed North Korea’s rural and agricultural areas.
Pyongyang officials usually restrict foreigners to photographing these areas during the summer, when the weather is better and the fields are green and full of crops. These photos, however, provide a rare look at the everyday life of North Koreans during the winter months.
They show just how impoverished the area is, and are a stark reminder of the widespread poverty and hunger many North Koreans suffer under the brutal rule of Kim Jong Un, who has been in power since December 2011. The CIA ranks North Korea as one of the world’s poorest countries, and its people live on about $1,700 a year.
Forty percent of North Korea’s population lives in rural communities.
Cars are still pretty rare in North Korea. Many people use bicycles.
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