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David Guttenfelder on Seeing Life for Yourself

“It’s not a cardboard movie facade, it’s a real place—people have lives, they get up and go to work.” —David Guttenfelder

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Light shines through a window onto a tank filled with goldfish inside an office at the Korean Central News Agency building in Pyongyang, North Korea from National Geographic’s October 2013 story “The Real North Korea.”

David Guttenfelder has gained intimate access to North Korea, a feat that few other Western photographers or journalists have been able to do. To the rest of the world, North Korea is an isolated place, with only snippets of information about the people or the government leaked out to the global news. But Guttenfelder has made nearly 25 trips to North Korea over the past several years and feels a great responsibility to bring back the pictures that others cannot. Guttenfelder has worked outside of the United States his entire photographic career. He started as a freelance photographer in East Africa and has traveled to more than 75 countries working for the Associated Press.  He is now the AP’s chief photographer for Asia. Mika Chance, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This video portrait was produced by National Geographic magazine in partnership with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. It is part of an ongoing series of conversations with the photographers of the magazine, exploring the power of photography and why this life of imagemaking suits them so well. Learn more about the making of the series and watch the full trailer here.

Follow David Guttenfelder on Instagram and his website.

Video Production Credits
Photographer: David Guttenfelder
Producers: Pamela Chen, NGM
Chad A. Stevens, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Associate Producer: Elyse Lipman, NGM
Editors: Mika Chance, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Camera and Sound: Spencer Millsap, NGM, Shannon Sanders, NGM


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