welcome to pyongyang

i am utterly fascinated by the place often referred to as a "stalinist disneyland", to say that i am curious about the country's history and politics is an understatement. charlie crane has beautifully captured the isolation and almost sterile environment that north korea is known for to create the book welcome to pyongyang. to uphold the image that is portrayed to the rest of the world, it took crane a year before he was granted access and even then, two guides were required to accompany him to all of the tourist locations that officials allowed him to photograph. deemed as an inappropriate way to address the country, crane and his collaborator were not even allowed to use north korea as a reference in his book, displaying the country's immense pride. thanks to this pastel and cold depiction, the photos allow the viewer to open their minds to go beyond the dictatorships, concentration camps, extensively militarized population and propaganda and allow them to see what the mere 1800 western visitors each year are permitted to see.