North Korea is one of the most secretive states in the world, but one man received permission from the nation’s strict regime to capture a drive through its capital Pyongyang. It’s a rare and immersive peek into a world few are allowed to witness.

North Korea’s citizens cannot travel abroad, they have little contact with those granted access and any media available in the country is tightly controlled by the Communist state, presided over by it’s ‘supreme leader’ Kim Jong-un.

Remarkable then that one man, reaching out to contacts found on the Internet, has been granted access to North Korea to document this hidden country immersively through the use of 360 panoramic images and video.

Aram Pan is a Singapore based photographer who has specialised in what he describes as ‘panorama production’ since 2007. In 2013 Pan started the ‘DPRK 360‘ project, an initiative to, in his words, “capture the essence of North Korea through the use of 360° panoramas, photos and videos.”

“I faxed and emailed various North Korean contacts that you can easily find online and after about a month or so, someone contacted me,” says Pan – speaking to CNN last year. “We met up and I got approval… just like that.”

View-able using Google Cardboard, Pan captured the 360 video footage of PyongYang’s main arterial roads using a custom GoPro Hero4 Black Rig, fitted with a 280-degree Entaniya lens. The resulting footage is somewhat eerie as many of the main areas and surrounding walkways look almost deserted. “It’s unfortunate that tourists and foreigners are often chaperoned along the arterial roads of Pyongyang,” Pan says, “because it’s the small streets like these that are filled with people.”

pyongyang-streets

Pan’s DPRK 360 project seems presently to be unique. That Pan managed to secure access to capture this much footage in one of the most restrictive regimes in the world is one thing, (check out his incredible library of 360 photos too), filming it in a format that allows people to feel part of the journey, is pretty remarkable.

Check out the DPRK 360 home page here, and visit the project’s Facebook page here.

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  • Michael Davidson

    This is amazing. This is providing an experience 99.99999% of the rest of us will never have. Thank you sir!

  • Nigerian Wizard

    Wow it’s just a car ride through a street. It’s fucking nothing.

    • Seerak

      That’s the point.

      It looks like CGI where the artist laid out the buildings and basic city items like lightpoles etc., but oddly skipped a lot of the street details that brings a city to life, such as street vendors, art, advertising/billboards, retail shops etc. Some of the buildings have a single color on them, often that solid green as if the entire structure were dipped in paint. And most of the people are the same cloned model — white shirt, black pants.

      But then that hypothetical artist made the bare concrete textures absolutely photoreal, used million-poly vegetation, and aced the realistic lighting and human animations.

      It’s jarring to see this particular form of “CGI” barrenness in real life. And that’s the wealthiest city in the country.