Time Magazine has named David Guttenfelder its top Instagram photographer of the year for his on-going series of photos that chronicle life in North Korea.
Guttenfelder, chief Asia photographer for the Associated Press, has made numerous journeys to the DPRK over the past several years and began directly chronicling the country through Instagram earlier this year when North Korean opened up its cellphone network to foreigners.
One of the most attractive aspects of the pictures, especially from the point of view of those who follow North Korea closely, is that Guttenfelder’s photographs capture little moments of life not often seen. There’s the announcer explaining a movie on state TV, the Kim Il Sung badge in its packaging, the empty banquet room waiting for guests, and the couples dancing in the street.
“Guttenfelder’s year of work chips beneath the pariah state’s absurd façade,” Time said. “In his Instagram pictures, we see the spectral emptiness of Pyongyang’s Orwellian city blocks, the hushed quiet of passengers in buses, the coiled patterns of a carpet in an otherwise non-descript waiting room.”