The Big Picture:
Celebrating 60 years of existence this year, North Korea holds out as the last Stalinist state in the world. In such a restrictive society, it is difficult - if not impossible - for residents to get news of the outside world, and for the outside world to see in. What photography comes out of North Korea is either state-produced, state-approved, or at the very least state-managed (visitors are restricted in their movement). Still, if you look over the following images with those restrictions in mind, one can still get some idea of life in North Korea in 2008.
These photos were all taken within the past six months - some taken from the borders, peering in, others provided by North Korea itself, and several generously shared by freelance photographer Eric Lafforgue, who recently spent some time inside the country.