In 2014 I traveled to the DPRK to begin the most recent chapter of my ongoing Korea project. Titled “Paradise Lost,” I photographed daily life in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, and in the remote region of North Hamgyong Province, in the northeast of the country. Most Koreans have lost family as a result of the separation of the two countries. Whilst it would be impossible to locate lost relatives, I am keen to continue to visit the DPRK in the coming years (even beyond the parameters of this particular project) and to chart the subtle and more obvious changes the country is beginning to undergo.
I am hoping to return to the DPRK to continue making work and to complete this chapter of the project, traveling with the assistance of the Korean International Tourism Company (KITC) and the China based tour company YPT, who has been instrumental in brokering introductions and developing my itinerary.
My intention (without being naïve to the realities of life in North Korea) is not to portray the country by making oblique political statements but rather to focus on the idea that under any challenging and complex circumstance, daily life simply must - and does - go on.
-Lee Grant 2015