He Said-She Said: Photos Prohibited

He Said-She Said: Photos Prohibited

2012 was a good year for photography.  From our Favorite Photo last week, to the His and Her’s Top-10 Photos from 2012, due to locations and experience, it was totally different from our Favorite Photos of 2011.  No matter what though, the photos we can’t take are those that irk us most.  These things you don’t see are often the most spectacular places we visit.  Here are some of the most memorable “Photos Prohibited” photo locations we’ve visited and why you need to see them with your own eyes.


Digital cameras are the Gutenberg Press of our time.  The printing press drastically dropped the price of information, allowing more people than ever the ability to read and consider new information.  Like the printing press, the digital camera drastically reduced the price of transmitting information, except this time by images.  Further enhanced by the internet, you can see-before-you-go almost anywhere.  Almost is the key word though, due to restrictions, both sensible and unreasonable, it is virtually impossible to see inside some places without being there yourself.  Sadly when the regimes that are limiting the photos fall, so too may these buildings, making it even sadder that photos are scarce.

The closest photo you’re going to see of Kumsusan Palace in North Korea.

The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in North Korea is a place you will probably never see a photo of the inside.  What will you see if you go in person?  Not only the mausoleum to the departed “Dear Leaders” of North Korea, but you’ll also be taken through an unnerving, cult-like introduction to the exploits of the leaders.  You’ll learn how Kim Il-sung almost singlehandedly defeated the Japanese in WWII and how when Kim Jong-il was born a star was added to the sky.  You’ll be taken through the most epic memorial to the day someone died, narrated by the most cliché communist voice, of how the world was thrown into a depression upon the death of Kim Il-sung.  It is something that even if you could take a photo it wouldn’t do the experience justice.

While the experience inside the Kumsusan Palace is surreal and almost comical, I don’t see how it would survive reuinification with the South (presumably under South Korean control).  It is just too far out there, too communist, and reveres a person that the other side sees as a dictator that brought misery upon half the country.  Much like the fallen communist art of the former USSR, this will probably remain only in textbooks of the future.  Visit before it’s gone.  Click here to learn how you can visit North Korea yourself.



I have to admit I have become obsessed with photography on this trip.  In fact my interest in going to a sight that doesn’t allow photography is much lower simply because I can’t take a photo home with me.  I know that this trip can’t be summed up in pictures nor will they suffice to explain what we’ve been doing and where we’ve been the past two plus years. However, photos have become my favorite souvenirs from the places we’ve visited and photography has become a full blown hobby.

It’s hard to pick just one place that I would have liked to wield my camera rather than just take mental pictures.  The two that really stand out are the ancient Egyptian sights and Potala Palace in Tibet.  Egypt is incredible, the pyramids and temples never ceased to amaze, but the real treasures are inside where photography is not allowed.  I loved the intricate details of the art work in the tombs at the Valley of the Kings, but I have no pictures to explain the stories on those walls.

Much like the tombs and temples of ancient Egypt, Potala Palace is hard to explain without the aid of pictures.  Until I visited Tibet’s Potala Palace I was under the impression that Buddhists were against worldly possessions, but you can’t imagine how much gold and jewels adorn the tombs of the previous Dalai Lama’s.  Since I don’t have photos I’m not going to try to make it up for you with a thousand words, but I highly recommend you view Potala Palace, The Valley of the Kings and the Kumsusan Palace for yourself.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Tags: , ,

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

About the Author

thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.


BrisbaneAnnapurna Base Camp TrekOsakaDambullaIguazu FallsNew DelhiQueenstownMalaysia HighlightsMontevideo





Get traveling today with lessons from our travels to 50+ countries on all 7 continents. Bump along in buses, hike the hills, and swim the seas with us to discover the world's best destinations.

Like LivingIF to start living your IF today!

Press ¨Esc¨ key to close this window.