Posts Tagged ‘guttenfelder’

I’ve been following David Guttenfelder on twitter and Instagram for about a year, initially because of a stunning photo of North Korea that appeared in the NY Times. Guttenfelder has made a specialty of North Korea, although he now works for National Geographic and travels extensively. He has recently been promoting a group of instagrammers who spend time in North Korea.

Writing for Time magazine’s Lightbox column, Olivier Laurant quotes Guttenfelder: “ ‘My motive has always been to open a window on North Korea,’ says David Guttenfelder. ‘There are so few images coming out of there, and yet there’s so much interest.’

“A former chief photographer at Associated Press, Guttenfelder helped open the agency’s first bureau in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in January 2012. Now, after he resigned from AP to continue his career as a freelance photographer and one of National Geographic’s Photography Fellows, he’s not turning his back on the reclusive country. In September 2014, he quietly launched the Everyday DPRK Instagram account, which features pictures by North Korean residents and photographers. …

“Six photographers, including Guttenfelder, are currently posting on the Everyday DPRK account — @drewkelly, @sunbimari, @andrea_uri, @simonkoryo, @soominee. …

“Kelly first visited Pyongyang in June 2012, and he usually spends three to four months a year in the country. ‘I had come right out of graduate school and learned of an opportunity to teach at a university here in the capital,’ he says. ‘I wanted to do something different, not sit around in the U.S. hoping the”right” job would come along.’

“When he’s not teaching English, Kelly is using Instagram to offer an ‘expat point-of-view’ on North Korea and to show that ‘there are real people living, working and striving for a better life with the cards dealt to them,’ he says.” More here, at Lightbox.

Guttenfelder comments at Instagram, “We are a small group of photographers who have, with different routes, unique access to North Korea. @andrea_uri started a tour company for example. @drewkelly is a teacher at a nkorean university. @dguttenfelder is a photojournalist. @sunbimari is a translator and working on major cultural exchange programs. @simonkoryo is a British nations with more trips inside nkorea than any other foreigner that I know of, more than 150. @soominee works on a farm in Rason.”

Photo: @drewkelly
North Korean kindergarten students stand outside a school at a collective farm near Wonsan, North Korea.

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David Guttenfelder seems to get into North Korea and take pictures there more than anyone else, but what are you allowed to take pictures of in North Korea?

When Guttenfelder isn’t attending any official event, he improvises. He may have invented an art form in North Korea — artifact photography. He snaps bunches of plastic flowers in a hotel room, dinner menus, concert programs and labels them as “artifacts,” numbered.

No wonder he is involved with a new artifact museum, mmuseumm, which features the kooky things people collect.

Consider Toothpaste Tubes from Around the World, collected by Tucker Viemeister.  Says Viemeister, “Although I come from a ‘Crest family,’ I got my first tube of foreign toothpaste in Finland in 1985. We were shopping for normal stuff (Marimekko and toiletries). I saw a tube of toothpaste that’s [got a] name as long as the tube! They have long words in Finland.

“As I traveled around, I’d sample the toothpaste around the world. It was fun to buy and fit easily in my bag. Meanwhile it was an easy gift!

“I noticed that toothpaste is a universal media for indigenous people – a veritable blank canvas — both graphics on the generic tube and the flavors of the paste. French brands are more gourmet, Asian is more fruity, while American is very sharp (it this stereotyping?).” More here.

The museum is in Cortlandt Alley between Franklin St. and White St. in Manhattan.

(I wonder if my collection of wooden thread spools is extensive enough for a museum. I am afraid I lost the varied European toilet papers I collected on a trip at age 15.)


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