All of these photos were taken over the course of a six day tour to North Korea in 2014.  This visit coincided with a national holiday, Victory Day, celebrating "victory" in the Great Fatherland Liberation War.

Even after visiting, North Korea remains a mystery to me.  Though I had the chance to see more of the country than most of the world ever sees, the experience was still obviously manufactured.  While the atmosphere among the tour group was more relaxed than I had anticipated, there was little opportunity to stray away and see the country from beyond an invisible tether.

The North Koreans I did interact with were kind, though often distant.  It must be remembered that real human beings do occupy this country and they cannot be reduced to the simple caricatures that we often see of them in the West.