North Korea via Instagram

David Guttenfelder, chief Asia photographer for the Associated Press wire service, sent these photos from North Korea straight to his Instagram account (in real time), a significant feat in a country where access is strictly controlled and where very few have Internet access.

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  1. While many of the images below (taken from January to April) were uploaded in real time, some are identified in the caption as being taken at an earlier date and uploaded later.
  2. A North Korean guide uses a pointer at the start of a tour of an historic site. On Jan. 18, 2013, foreigners were allowed for the first time to bring mobile phones into North Korea. And this week the local service provider, Koryolink, is allowing foreigners to access the Internet on a data capable 3G connection on our mobile phones. In the past I could post geolocated phone photos to my Instagram feed by turning my online laptop into a hotspot to link my iPhone or iPod touch by wifi. But, today I'm posting this directly from my phone while riding in the back of a van in #Pyongyang. The window on to North Korea has opened another crack. Meanwhile, for Koreans here who will not have access to the same service, the window remains shut.
  3. The highway, heading south to #Pyongyang, North Korea. Four lanes wide and few cars to be found.
  4. I've just landed in #Pyongyang again. Posting first my Air Koryo (North Korean airline) in-flight meal. iPhone photo 3/7/2013
  5. North Koreans students attend an English language study session. They were learning how the word "who" can stand in place of a noun. Like, The student WHO is studying English was born in #Pyongyang.
  6. Painted #Propaganda, showing North Korean children in armed services uniforms attacking U.S., Japanese & SKorean soldiers, hangs in a room inside a #Pyongyang kindergarten.
  7. Charicatures of American and Japanese solders are stored in a room at Kaeson Kindergarten in #Pyongyang. Children throw things at the faces and pretend to shoot or bayonette them with toy guns during a schoolyard game.
  8. A wall painting inside a North Korean school. I'm sitting here in #Pyongyang, downloading David Bowie's new record "The Next Day", his 1st in a decade. For here am I sitting in my tin can Far above the world Planet Earth is blue And there's nothing I can do
  9. An apartment block stands above the schoolyard playground equipment of a #Pyongyang, #NKorea kindergarten.
  10. North Korean babies rest in a row of cribs at the #Pyongyang Maternity Hospital.
  11. A North Korean doctor and a bank of video monitors inside a #Pyongyang hospital.
  12. This little North Korean dude ,and his school buddies, were playing with one of my cameras this morning at Mansu Hill in #Pyongyang.
  13. A North Korean traffic policeman stands guard at a roundabout in the capital. The DPRK's men in blue seldom get their 15 minutes of fame. Most visitors remember the female traffic cops at the intersections. Icons of #Pyongyang.
  14. An early morning view of #Pyongyang, North Korea through my hotel window.
  15. This is a tourist-like view from a balcony at the Grand People's Study House. The high-rises, behind the mosaics of two Kim's, is the 3,000-unit Changjon Street apartment building complex that was completed last April. IPod touch photo from Jan. 9, 2013.
  16. North Korean kids rollerblade at a skating track in #Pyongyang.
  17. A welcome sign in a #Pyongyang, pub advertises North Korean-brewed Taedonggang Beer.
  18. Karaoke room. North Korea.
  19. A restaurant in the Hyangsan Hotel at the foot of Mt. Myohyang, North Korea. We're the only guests in this hotel.
  20. And a shadow of Juche Tower is cast over the east side of #Pyongyang, #NKorea.
  21. And, a view of Juche Tower behind a tiny city model. This was used at a school to teach young kids about traffic safety and such.
  22. Viewed from the top of the Tower of the Juche Idea is the 105-story pyramid-shaped Ryugyong Hotel under construction in #Pyongyang, #NKorea since 1987.