20 Jan An Interview with Adam Baidawi after a Trip To North Korea with the Fujifilm X100T
Source: Fujifilm X Blog
I’m a 26-year-old writer and photographer. The bulk of my work is a combination of celebrity profile pieces and long form reportage. I’ve reported on stories from Iraq, Colombia, and all throughout Europe and Australia. Most recently, I travelled to North Korea to write and shoot a feature for the Australian edition of GQ magazine. I also do a little brand consulting and wedding photography.
As a younger freelancer, I started to realise that the more ambitious stories that I wanted to tell needed to be supported by imagery. We’re visual creatures. Photos stimulate us and pull us into a story. Now, my best features prioritise words and photography equally.
Based on your first impressions before going to North Korea and what you know now, are you surprised by the way people live there?
This is a tricky one. Tourism in North Korea is so impeccably controlled, so micro-managed, so on-rails, that it’s impossible to say whether or not what you see represents the reality.
We spent most of our time in Pyongyang, the city of the elites. You don’t make it in Pyongyang unless your family has paid its dues. It’s not representative of life there.
For me, the closest we came to seeing regular life in the DPRK was in the in-between moments: The famers carrying heavy loads on the side of a rural highway. The kids being petulant to their parents on the way home from school in a little country town. The way our tour guides would relax and go a little red in the face after a few beers. I loved those mundane moments. People still go to work, and save up for the clothing they want – they still get a little sleepy in the mid-afternoon and like bragging about accomplishments. They’re just people. Those moments meant more to me than any choreographed events on our itinerary.
You mentioned to us you were planning on taking a Digital SLR to North Korea. Can you tell us why you chose to take the Fujifilm X100T instead?
I actually did take a full DSLR kit to North Korea – I had a full-frame Canon and a slew of lenses. My big ol’ kit. But, by chance, I’d bought an X100T a few months earlier. I’d been craving something smaller and snappier. I bought it
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