I was going to post another photograph from North Korea today with a military theme, but after Sarolta said she found yesterday’s post frightening, and AnneFrance said it scared her, I decided to post something softer.
Whilst I was in Pyongyang, I visited the government’s television studio where they were recording a children’s programme. I was amazed to see children just 3-5 years old performing in front of the cameras as if they were seasoned Las Vegas performers. They stepped up onto the stage to perform songs, solo and in groups, and not once did they make a mistake or show any signs of nervousness in front of the studio lights and cameras.
When this song was being recorded, I asked what they were singing about, expecting the reply to be a nursery rhyme or a children’s folk song. Instead I discovered that they were singing about “how much the great leader General Kim Jong Il loved little children”. Definitely a number you won't hear on Sesame Street!
Critiques | Translate
richtersl (3546) 2005-10-26 7:47
This is delightful! I love their reflections on the shiny floor. This is such a stark contrast from the other photos you've shown us from North Korea.
don_narayan (2014) 2005-10-26 10:12
great photo, David. i have enjoyed all of your NK shots. these colors here, especially reflecting on the shiny floor look so good. great composition too. well done. great notes as well.
AmiBe (6042) 2005-10-26 10:16
another interesting picture, it's very well composed, we can see the cute children on the camera.
How can a man be so megalomaniac ?
gaby (19819) 2005-10-26 13:13
Hi David - fantastic and wonderful shot - great compo and reflection - Thanks for this nice pic and this interesting note -
In my favorites
annagrace (2467) 2005-10-26 15:30
You're right about that being different than Sesame Street, LOL!! Great capture here and interesting statement on current times in N. Korea.
Love the colors.
kensimage (8565) 2005-10-26 16:07
Very nicely exposed in a tricky situation, David, and it's plenty sharp enough, too, at least for web use.
When even this sort of scene depicts something being abused for political purposes, it's pretty sickening. I may get sickened by a lot of things my own government does, but at least they don't pervade every aspect of society right down to little children's TV. I'm glad you're bringing these matters out for view via your images (and perhaps via your work there, too.)
HOBO (5282) 2005-10-27 12:45
Good evening David,
despite the colors and the children, it looks a bit artifically. Well, I feel it's a different atmosphere from ours.
Well done to post fotos from this country!
tobourge (971) 2005-10-28 1:41
Very good POV & composition! I don't know if I have to smile looking at the joyful, colourful little girls or to be sad knowing that they are manipulated.
Thanks for sharing
fireflyz (2097) 2005-10-28 14:20
Excellent POV and your composition is perfect! Great lighting as well. I enjoyed your note very much. Thanks for sharing and giving us an inside look into this country.
jbweasle (9393) 2005-10-30 13:07
A beautifully composed shot, David. The children have great smiles on their faces as well as wearing beautifully coloured clothes. The cameraman, although in the foreground is dark and therefore, properly, becomes the secondary subject in the image. Having the children repeated in the cameraman's viewfinder is a perfect touch.
chaity (1539) 2005-11-16 4:27
Hi David, after reading your note. I am undecided whether to clap my hands for support or other wise for the act.
designsoul (21492) 2005-11-21 19:24
I haven't landed on this picture earlier to comment on but now I can, thankfully. Please don't misunderstand me, although I did find the previous posting enormously shocking, it was one of the shots that I will never, ever forget as long as I live (unless I get, God forbid, Alzheimer's). In fact, the other night we saw a most incredible, harrowing, Orwellian documentary on North Korea that chilled me to the bone and made me realize what an entire nation still has to go through, in this "day and age" as they say.
This posting, truly, is excellent again... in a sense, what I find most witty about it is that you included the cameraman, an omnipotent presence in North-Korea I am sure, spying on everyone, checking who might have any videotape from the South, etc... so it is a very clever addition, beside the photographic merit. And then, then there are those lovely little children already in the process of serious brainwashing... how pathetic. Your note says it all.
PS will be back
Klapaucius (627) 2006-03-21 3:21
It reminds me of an early morning TV show that I watched in Japan... four small children aged about five or six years old, singing and dancing like professionals. Except they *were* doing nursey rhymes.
Useful note. As for the photo... great composition. The temptation for me would have been to take a photo purely of the children in their dresses, performing like little child prodigies, but your shot is much much better. I like that I can see what the cameraman is filming, for example. Nice touch.
The image is well framed, and the lighting is reasonable. I like the contrast in colour between the cameraman and the children on stage.
Well done! Good effort all round... thanks for sharing. ^_^
pburraco (861) 2006-07-06 21:22
La verdad me encantan tus notas y comentarios de las fotos!
Un viaje a Corea del Norte es lo que siempre quise hacer.
How do you get to North Korea? I always wanted to visit NK! Any advice?
Thanks and keeps sharing!
taypejka (1689) 2007-03-21 5:35
First of all let me thank you for posting photos from North Korea and adding very detailed descriptions on what you observed. I've already watched few documentary films on North Korea and recently read a book undertitled "Mouth full with stones" - biography of a man who finally managed to escape from the concentration camp (which still exist)in North Korea and fleed to China and then to South Korea. Therefore looking at this photo(as well as other ones)- beautiful, talented and innocent girls on the stage, I cannot forget that there is another image of North Korea, totally different world.
How did you organize your trip to North Korea (was it a business or private initiative?), what is the procedure you had to go through in order to enter the country (permission and other requirements)? How long did you stay there? Did you have the possibility to get know ordinary people? What is your impression? Thanks for your reply in advance.
warm greetings from Poland
jdwyer264 (1082) 2007-10-10 0:36
A superb shot David, I love the colour and POV in this picture.
The other thing I really like is the posture of the left hand girl as she appears to be acknowledging you and your camera.
TFS, a really interesting shot.
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2005-09-14
- Categories: Daily Life
- Camera: Nikon D100, Nikkor AF-S 24-120/3.5-5.6G ED
- Exposure: f/7.1, 1/40 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Photographing the Photographer [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2005-10-26 5:36
- Favorites: 4 [view]