Photograph by David Guttenfelder—AP
All across North Korea are propaganda slogans on billboards and monuments — standing along roadsides, hilltops, rice fields, they’re everywhere. The slogans typically call for loyalty to the current leaders. Some address current events, like the latest rocket launch or nuclear test. And some simply encourage hard, collective work.
This is the punctuation at the end of a slogan on the road as you enter the southern city of Kaesong, near the DMZ. The slogan reads: “Long Live Unified Korean People!”
I shot the picture from the window of our van as we left Kaesong for Pyongyang on April 24, 2013.
I think that the photo is interesting because you can only see the exclamation point — it makes you begin to understand how ubiquitous the propaganda is inside North Korea. At the same time, there is a very noticeable absence of advertising there. In New York, we live with several-story-tall underwear ads looming above us. There, it’s the constant reminder of the regime at every corner.
Guttenfelder was honored with 2013 Infinity Award for Photojournalism by the International Center of Photography on May 1, 2013.
See more of his latest work from North Korea on LightBox.