#1: © Damir Sagolj, Oct. 5, 2011, A picture of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-sung, decorates a building in the capital Pyongyang / North Korea
#2: © David Guttenfelder, April 2011, Central Pyongyang at dusk / North Korea
Reuters photographer Damir Sagolj won first prize in the World Press Photo Daily Life Singles category with his photograph of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-sung on a wall in Pyongyang.
When I first saw Sagolj’s photograph a few weeks ago, I thought to myself: I’ve seen this image before. I checked my posts tagged with North Korea (sometimes being a category/tag-nerd pays off), and there it was: David Guttenfelder shot a photo from a very similar perspective (compare previous post). Two amazing pictures indeed - no wonder that Sagolj won the World Press Photo award, and no wonder that Guttenfelder is now the head of the photo department in North Koreans Associated Press bureau (see previous post).
First I thought that Damir Sagolj had a little more luck in terms of hotel room choice than his colleague David Guttenfelder, but today I read this statement on Reuters blog:
“After days of excitement and lots of rare pictures in the provinces, I came back to Pyongyang without big plans for shooting in the capital. All I wanted were some moody general views of the city. This is probably the easiest big picture I shot for a long time – it was taken from the window of my hotel room in Pyongyang early morning, just before the sunrise. I knew that portrait was there and I insisted with our hosts to get a room on a very high floor facing that direction. So, all I had to do is to wake up early in the morning, make a coffee, light a cigarette and make sure I exposed well. The scene has this eerie look for maybe 5 to 10 minutes, then the revolutionary songs and propaganda speeches from loudspeakers wake the city up.” (Damir Sagolj)