North Koreans in 3D

October 9, 2015 2015年10月9日

Photographer Matjaž Tančič recently held the first foreign photography exhibition in one of the world’s most inaccessible cities: Pyongyang, North Korea. The show featured his portraits of everyday North Koreans – but in 3D. It was a unique experience for those in attendance, who mostly didn’t have any greater context of photography from the internet and literature to draw from. “North Korea is special – it’s like traveling back in time. Everything was retro, funny lights and colors, like a Wes Anderson film. It was so raw, so different seeing things you will remember forever, meeting people who’ll probably never have a chance to be seen again.”

最近摄影师Matjaž Tančič成为第一个在世界上最难接近的城市之一朝鲜平壤举办个人摄影展的外国人。该展览以3D效果呈现他在朝鲜每天所遇见的人物肖像。对于从没有通过网络和书本了解过摄影的人来说,这是一场独特的体验。“朝鲜这个地方很特别,像是穿越时光一样。一切都很复古,有趣的灯光和颜色,就像Wes Anderson的电影一样。所有东西都那么原生,这种画面你会难以忘记,相遇的人可能从此不会再见。”

An accomplished photographer who studied at the London College of Fashion for Photography, Matjaž grew up in Slovenia, formerly Yugoslavia. Images of political leaders, working brigades, and propaganda have always been familiar. In his trip to North Korea, Matjaž focused on showing ordinary people as much as possible. With the help of North Korean specialists Koryo Studio he spent ten days driving through the entire country, shooting more than 100 portraits.

才华横溢的摄影师Matjaž曾经就读于伦敦时装学院时尚摄影专业,他从小在斯洛文尼亚长大,亦即前南斯拉夫。政治领袖、流水线工作以及政治宣传相关题材是他的摄影作品常见的主题。此次朝鲜之行中,Matjaž想要尽可能多地展现普通人的面貌。在位于朝鲜的专业艺廊Koryo Studio的帮助下,他花了十天穿越这个国家,拍摄了超过100张的人像照片。

“It was a very intense, by-the-minute schedule. With limited time, you have to think fast, find the location, make sure the light is good, make sure the feeling is right, and stay friendly and curious on top of it all. It was intense and hard, but super rewarding to see something no one has shot before.”


Students, waitresses, doctors, farmers, athletes, and factory workers all stood as still as possible for the 3D portraits. Using his experience in 3D photography and technique, Matjaž only had 5 – 10 minutes per portrait to nail the shot with one camera. 3D photography is achieved by combining two frames (one for the left eye, and one for the right eye) with two identical cameras or with a slider. It is very exacting and can be difficult to compose in this way, especially under challenging conditions and situations.


Shooting in 3D is often seen as a gimmick, Matjaž says – but it can also add more value to your subject. It depends on the selection and the craft of the story. Matjaž, who is based in Beijing, previously shot a photo series in Yixian, Anhui Province in China entitled Timekeepers. Using 3D photography, he made diptychs of villagers in their remote, traditional homes. In one frame is a portrait of the villagers in their living room. In the other is a still-life of their possessions, which included a clock in every home, leading to the title Timekeepers. In 3D, the sense of personal life, personal space, and personal objects is heightened. Every object and detail is greatly emphasized.


Timekeepers was published by Jiazazhi Press in May 2015, disguised as an old Chinese photo album in a box. Matjaž is now working on a book featuring his North Korean portraits as well as other documentary photography projects.


Contributor: Jia Li

供稿人:Jia Li

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