Photo Link: Photographs of North Korea

Arirang Festival, North Korea, in the world's largest stadium

Arirang Festival, North Korea, in the world’s largest stadium, with 100,000 people performing. That is not a typo.  Photo from Trek Earth.

As I mentioned, every once in a while, I’ll link to something that I think you’ll find fascinating, whether it’s camera equipment or photos.  This time, it’s photos of North Korea, the Hermit Kingdom, a place where it’s rather difficult to come by photos because it’s sealed off from the rest of the world.  And although their dictator, Kim Jong Il, passed away recently, there’s no reason to believe much will change any time soon.

And in a country where homes have speakers that blare propaganda early each morning and you are thrown in the slammer for sitting on a newspaper that has a photo of their “beloved” dictator or contacting the outside world, maybe we could at the very least wish their citizens well this holiday season.

A Yannis Kontos photo taken covertly inside North Korea, where the military brainwashes their troops to hate the U.S.  More Yannis Kontos photos of North Korea can be found here.
North Korean Highway
North Korean Highway:  “huge and carless” (Eric Lafforgue, quote and copyright).

More photos of North Korea from boston.com
Photos by Eric Lafforgue on Flickr
More photos of North Korea from Trek Earth
More Yannis Kontos photos of North Korea

Photo Link: 100 Year Old Photos of Old Russia — In Color!

As I mentioned, every once in a while, I’ll link to something that I think you’ll find fascinating, whether it’s camera equipment or photos.  This time, it’s photos.  And this feels almost like time travel.  Note that I said “almost”; it’s without that slightly nauseous, disorienting feeling one gets from time travel.

These are some amazing hundred year old photos of Russia, all in color, all from the Library of Congress!  I know…all of us thought that everything was in black and white a hundred years ago.  But the high quality of the photos as well as the vibrant colors make it seem as if these were taken recently, not before World War I or the Russian Revolution.

An Armenian woman near Artvin in present-day Turkey, part of the old Russian Empire photos
An Armenian woman near Artvin in present-day Turkey, part of the old Russian Empire photos, 1910.
The Emir of Bukhara, in present-day Uzbekistan, 1910.
The Emir of Bukhara, in present-day Uzbekistan, 1910.
A group of Jewish children with a teacher in Samarkand, now present-day Uzbekistan, 1910.
A group of Jewish children with a teacher in Samarkand, now present-day Uzbekistan, 1910.
A group of women in Dagistan, 1910.
A group of women in Dagistan, 1910.
Young Russian peasant women offer berries to visitors to their izba, a traditional wooden house, in a rural area along the Sheksna River near the small town of Kirillov.
Young Russian peasant women offer berries to visitors to their izba, a traditional wooden house, in a rural area along the Sheksna River near the small town of Kirillov. Click on the photo to be magically whisked to Prokudin-Gorskii’s photos of Russia’s ethnic diversity.

At this point, you may be asking, “Hey…that was a long time ago, but these look *incredible*!  How were they photographed?”

Turns out that photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii was a pretty bright apple who figured out how to create images in color by shooting three different negatives, using either a red, green, or blue filter, photographing them in fairly rapid sequence.  He then recombined them, showing them in color through a projection system using the same three filters.  Read about it in more detail here.