Unperson: Portraits of North Korean Defectors

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Sébastien Falletti and Tim Franco
Magenta Foundation
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Unperson is one of the first photo books of North Korean defectors. The 15 intimate portraits and the stories of the brave people who decided to take that chance to flee to South Korea. The road to South Korea is dangerous and can take years with the many different borders of Mongolia, Laos, Thailand and China. The people fleeing are filled with the fear of being arrested and sent back to labour camps. Once they arrive in South Korea, they often struggle to find a new identity – lost between their North Korean past and South Korean future.

Tim Franco travelled to the crossing points, aiming to capture the diversity of landscape that is the background of North Korean defection. He chose to use a large format camera with Polaroid film to capture each defector.

In George Orwell’s 1984, an 'Unperson' is someone who has been vaporised, whose record has been erased. As each defector begins their new life, they all start out as an Unperson.