No matter what you think about them, timelapses are like the Kardashians – they exist and are popular. But their novelty is a bit tired and are in desperate need of a change to get away from the cliché. Perhaps what they need is something antithetical, and novel. What they needed was Rob Whitworth, and his skills granted access to one of the most veiled places on the planet. North Korea.
A little while back, I wrote about another Whitworth ‘Flow-Motion’ video of Barcelona. I, and much of the world, it would seem, hadn’t seen anything quite like it before. His particular blend of time-lapse photography, videography, slow motion, and seemingly magical zooms, makes Whitworth just about the most compelling artists of his type. Countries have taken notice and their tourist boards have come knocking on his door to create features for their cities. The latest, and possibly greatest, is North Korea. ‘Enter Pyongyang; Democratic People’s Republic Of Korea.’
Pyongyang is no new city, but recent years have been a sort of adolescence for it, and this video is right up there highlighting this fact. Whitworth was granted a sort of unprecedented amount of access to sites all around the city, though he was chaperoned for the entirety of the job. A job, he did free of cost minus travel expenses. What this access and attitude seems to have allowed for is a disintegration of the stereotypes associated with North Korea in Western news. Dr. Patah Khanna, Director, Hybrid Reality wrote in the foreword of the video,
This video is the single most significant multi-media contribution to transcending clichés about North Korea as a society defined by reclusiveness and destitution. To travel there is to witness a proud civilization, though one caught in a Cold War time-warp. Korean cultural traditions are meticulously preserved and displayed in authentic richness. Anyone who has witnessed the awe-inspiring Mass Games knows that, with great sacrifice, North Koreans can pull off a performance unparalleled in its precision.
Enter Pyongyang” captures the reality of North Korean citizens as earnest and humane, not automaton.
While that is a bold statement, it may also be true. I think what many people will also find interesting is the sort of dichotomy between the portrayal of everyday life, of peaceful people living in a civilized manner in a beautiful city, and yet knowing the ugly underbelly of what North Korea really is still representing on a global scale. Either way, the video is captivating. And curious about his gear list? Here it is:
Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8 ED AF DX Fisheye
Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S DX
Nikon 16-35 f/4G AF-S VR Zoom
Nikon 28mm AF f/2.8D
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED AF-S VR II