Not a lot is known about North Korea. Westerners are rarely granted permission to enter the country. And we almost never get to see images other than those from state-coordinated photo ops.
But in May, Foreign Policy magazine published seven photos of North Korea taken by documentary photographer Tomas van Houtryve. Pretending to be a businessman looking to open a chocolate factory, van Houtryve toured Pyongyang under the watchful eye of his state-assigned guides. Despite his escorts, van Houtryve covertly snapped photos of life in and around Pyongyang.
The resulting photo essay, "The Land of No Smiles," shows empty streets, somber faces and dimly lit subways. They also offer a glimpse of what van Houtryve calls “emergency capitalism” — factories set up in special economic zones along the North-South border that allow South Korean companies to hire cheap North Korean labor.
Click here to see the photos — and don't forget to read the captions, which are nearly as fascinating as the images they describe.