Stephan Gladieu: North Korea
While undertaking this photographic investigation of North Korea, French photographer St�phan Gladieu (born 1969) found himself under constant surveillance everywhere he went. Because of these constraints, he managed to invent an ingenious space of freedom. Gladieu created mirror-portraits of people he encountered and was hosted by, often full length, which require a face-on pose and a direct gaze. In this way, he managed to create a form similar to North Korea's propaganda imagery, which made his approach more comprehensible and permissible to the authorities. Fifty years after its foundation, North Korea endures a media portrayal of war, famine, nuclear programs and military parades. Indoors, people are required to display portraits of the regime's founder, Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-Il. Family photos are not allowed; nor are personal portraits. Consequently, Gladieu's work attains an almost historic act of intervention in the country's visual politics.