S'porean photographer gets invited to cover trade fair-- in North Korea

While many of us ponder about what happens in the reclusive state that is North Korea, Singaporean photographer Aram Pan decided to find out.

Having traveled there 15 times, Aram was back again this year from Sept 23 to 26, for the 13th Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair, an annual event in which locals snap up products ranging from shatter-resistant LCD screens, to cosmetics, and even fish tanks. 

Some of the products were manufactured in North Korea, while others were imported from countries such as China, Vietnam, Cuba, Thailand and even Singapore. 

Having attended the event twice prior, Aram was still surprised at the large turnout.

Said Aram:

“It had an almost carnival-like atmosphere.

"It's like our IT fairs in Singapore, except that they sell all sorts of things, not just IT products. 

“Most of us have no concept of consumerism in the North.

“It is very interesting to me, and I try to visit as often as I can.

“I’m required to wear a registered armband to identify myself as a photojournalist during this time.”

The visit is part of Aram’s private project, DPRK 360, in which Aram explores the hidden state through his lens, capturing beauty unknown to many outside the state. 

Check out a video of trade fair below.