UPDATE: The Contrast Of Bleak, Desolate North Korea With The Bustling, Colourful South Will Break Your Heart (PICTURES)
From children scrambling for scraps of food in the road to soldiers pushing a broken down bus, the forbidden photography shows a harrowing glimpse of the rogue state and the desperation of the people that live there.
The images were taken by French photographer Eric Lafforgue earlier this year, during what would prove to be his final visit to the poverty-stricken state.
Scroll down for more images
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more
Lafforgue has now been banned from North Korea for refusing to delete ‘offensive’ images of the state from his website.
Though he captured the photographs whilst in the company of state-approved guides, he was instructed to delete them but was able to secretly store them to his memory card and smuggle them out of the state.
The shocking images show the toil and struggle of exhausted workers – including children - labouring in the rice fields.
One image shows children endeavouring to carry heavy pails of water from a tank in the North Korean countryside.
But not all of the photographs show the poverty and deprivation that the regime is so desperate to conceal.
One shows a finely dressed Korean woman grocery shopping at one of Pyongyang’s two supermarkets.
Lafforgue said: “Every visitor is warned not to take photos without the consent of the guides as soon as they arrive in Pyongyang.
“But in reality, it's impossible for them to monitor everything, especially when travelling with groups.
“They insist that you don't take photos of anything to do with the military or anything that could suggest poverty - even when you explain to them that it exists all over the world and even in France.
“I was disappointed to be banned as I tried to show more than the clichés about the country by trying to speak to people, letting them talk and showing they are not robots.
“They have families, kids and a lot of culture, but a few pictures judged as offensive got me banned.
“In Pyongyang you don't see real poverty but as soon as you get out into the countryside, it's a completely different story.
“Poverty is real in the countryside. Everyone including kids and the army have to work to reach the planned statistics in agriculture.
“The closer you are to regime ideals the better you live.”