The First Instagram Videos Out of North Korea Show an Isolated Otherworld

Just a few months ago, North Korea decided to flip on its 3G network, giving anyone who somehow managed to find access to a phone the ability to Instagram a landscape that comes with its very own sepia-toning. Now, though, thanks to Associated Press photographer David Guttenfelder and reporter Jean Lee, we have the (as far as we know) very first Instagram videos of life inside this esoteric autocracy.


As with all foreigners in the country—and the citizens themselves for that matter—AP reporters are, of course, incredibly limited in what they're allowed to see and who they're allowed to talk to. Visits to North Korea are notorious for presenting a total facade of what North Korean leaders would consider bustling, thriving city life in Pyongyang. So while these videos obviously won't show us the actual conditions under which most North Koreans suffer, they are, at least, one of the rare, non-state-approved looks we have inside their fascinatingly isolated world.

Here are some of the ones we find most interesting; you can see the rest over on Guttenfelder's Instagram account.

A North Korean woman adds up the restaurant lunch receipts while military videos play on the TV behind the counter

Roadside propaganda next to a construction site in Pyongyang, North Korea.


North Korean soldiers stand guard at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that divides the two Koreas.


The open road. A North Korean national highway between Pyongyang and Kaesong


Pyongyang, North Korea by night.


[@dguttenfelder via Mashable]


Kevin Reilly

Whipped this up real quick. Enjoy.