"FAMINE IN NORTH KOREA"
I walked through the mirror to see what I’ve seen before – hunger and poverty, sad eyes of those in need and politics that promise no changes for the better any time soon. I crossed into North Korea for the first time in my life to witness what should have been the distant past. I considered myself lucky; only my privileged status as an outsider prevented me from returning home the moment our plane landed and the first signs of grey reality were seen through the window of our plane. This is not the place you want to be if you don’t have a guaranteed return ticket in your pocket. I knew my trip will be strictly controlled and that I would be, at moments, frustrated not to be able to photograph what I thought relevant and important. But I was determined to get the maximum out of it, no matter now little that could be. I know the eyes of malnourished children don’t lie. I know how to hear silent complaints of poor people whose empty looks say more that a thousand words. I photographed the consequences of the hunger crisis in provinces of North Korea caused by floods and by the sad past of the impoverished country. I used my experience and journalists skills to keep a fine balance between not compromising the opportunity to document an important story and offering an unbiased, unique report that goes far beyond from what we have seen on this distant and forbidden place. I managed to shot pictures not staged nor organized to capture the sad reality outside a strictly controlled propaganda we have seen so often from North Korea.
North Korean girls look from behind windows at a foreign delegation visiting a school damaged in recent typhoon in the Haeju, capital of the South Hwanghae province October 1, 2011. Isolated North Korea has appealed for food aid following a series of natural shocks it says have starved the country's public food distribution system of supplies. In South Hwanghae province, which traditionally produces about a third of the country's total cereal supply, officials say a savage, long winter wiped out 65 percent of the barley, wheat and potato crops. Then summer floods and storms destroyed 80 percent of the maize harvest, according to the province's governing People's Committee, and may have an impact on the October rice harvest. Pictures were taken on a government controlled tour for Reuters Alertnet.