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article imageParallel lives: opposites and echoes either side of Korea's DMZ

By AFP     Sep 17, 2018 in World

On either side of the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Koreas, a soldier stares at the camera, the emblematic blue huts of the truce village of Panmunjom behind him.

Lieutenant Kim (top) and Corporal Woo (bottom) pose for portraits on either side of the Panmunjom tr...
Lieutenant Kim (top) and Corporal Woo (bottom) pose for portraits on either side of the Panmunjom truce village
Ed JONES, AFP

Hong Kum Ju (top) at the food factory where she works near North Korea's eastern port city of W...
Hong Kum Ju (top) at the food factory where she works near North Korea's eastern port city of Wonsan, North Korea, and Kim Si-eun (bottom) at the Spam factory where she works in Jincheon, south of Seou
Ed JONES, AFP

Seoul's President Moon Jae-in will fly straight to Pyongyang on Tuesday for his summit with the North's leader Kim Jong Un -- but for ordinary citizens of both countries, travel between them is banned.

North Korean ginseng farm manager Kim Young Guk (top) and South Korean farmer Hwang In-suk (bottom)
North Korean ginseng farm manager Kim Young Guk (top) and South Korean farmer Hwang In-suk (bottom)
Ed JONES, AFP

The two soldiers at Panmunjom were standing less than 100 metres apart, but getting from one location to the other would require a journey of more than 2,000 kilometres, via China.

Ri Kum Hui (top) poses after a military parade and mass rally in Pyongyang  and retired rear-admiral...
Ri Kum Hui (top) poses after a military parade and mass rally in Pyongyang, and retired rear-admiral Park Sae-hun (bottom) at a protest in Seoul to demand the redeployment of US tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea
Ed JONES, AFP

The images are one of a series of paired portraits taken by AFP photographer Ed Jones in the two countries, one of them a capitalist democracy and the other an isolated, nuclear-armed state.

Kim Song Jong (9  top) after a dance performance at a Children's Day event in Pyongyang  and Yo...
Kim Song Jong (9, top) after a dance performance at a Children's Day event in Pyongyang, and Yoon Hyerim (10, bottom) after a dance performance at Dongdaemun Design Plaza during Seoul Fashion Week
Ed JONES, AFP

From farmers, factory workers and petrol attendants to tour guides, shoppers and schoolchildren, the photographs highlight the visual similarities and differences between the two societies and their peoples.

Students Pak Kum Ryong (23  top) in Pyongyong and Lim Jun-beom (24  bottom) in Seoul
Students Pak Kum Ryong (23, top) in Pyongyong and Lim Jun-beom (24, bottom) in Seoul
Ed JONES, AFP

Reflecting the countries' geographical locations, the Northern portrait is always the top of the pair.

Ri Song Hui (21  top) at the Munsu Water Park in Pyongyang and Kwon Ye Seul (30  bottom) at the Carr...
Ri Song Hui (21, top) at the Munsu Water Park in Pyongyang and Kwon Ye Seul (30, bottom) at the Carribean Bay water park south of Seoul
Ed JONES, AFP

AFP is one of only a handful of international news organisations to operate a bureau in Pyongyang, giving it unusual access to the isolated country -- Seoul-based Jones is the only photographer living in the South who regularly visits the North, giving him a unique perspective on the two.

Han Gwang Rim and his daughter Su Ryon (top) at a supermarket in Pyongyang  and Hong Sung-cho (botto...
Han Gwang Rim and his daughter Su Ryon (top) at a supermarket in Pyongyang, and Hong Sung-cho (bottom) with son Hong Jinu at a supermarket in Bundang near Seoul
Ed JONES, AFP

"It's less about the technical aspects of the picture and more about the access," said Jones. "It's a rough style of photography which is more about the story of the two countries.

North Korean tour guide Choi Hee Ok (top) at the viewing deck of the landmark Juche Tower in Pyongya...
North Korean tour guide Choi Hee Ok (top) at the viewing deck of the landmark Juche Tower in Pyongyang, and South Korean tour guide Bang Sung-hee (bottom) at the viewing deck of the landmark 63 Building in Seoul
Ed JONES, AFP

"You can put the pictures side by side but the people can't stand side by side in real life and there's something inherently captivating about that."

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