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Instagrams from North Korea

First, you knew about David Guttenfelder, now here's Jaka Parker

Written by
Hahna Yoon

Jaka Parker, originally from Indonesia, is a freelance photographer currently living in North Korea. He resides there with his family in Pyongyang where his second and third children were born. He also takes photos of the city as a @everydaydprk fellow. You can check out his instagram account at @jakaparker. 


Note from the Editor: Due to our being restricted in terms of what we could ask and have Jaka, a non-native English speaker, clarify etc. the English editorial team at Time Out Seoul decided to leave the majority of spelling and grammar errors, awkward phrasings and vague references in this interview so as to maintain the integrity of Jaka’s words.

Q&A: Jaka Parker, North Korean resident

Where are your favorite places in Pyongyang?

My favorite places in Pyongyang [are along] the banks of Taedong River where we can meet Pyongyang's people and their folk activities. 

What's your favorite restaurant there?

My favorite restaurant is the Changgwang Restaurant because this is the first restaurant we visited when we temporarily stayed at Changgwang Hotel. The other is Birobong restaurant where they have big sofa so my children can sit freely [and] I often bring my family here. [...] It seems Pyongyang people love children, because when we bring children, they always say hello and [...] chit-chat with us.


What do you do on the weekends for fun?

What many foreigner residents and I do in Pyongyang is typical. We don't have much things to do to entertain ourselves. We go to several shops buy groceries or go to the Tongil Market, the one and only traditional market where the foreigners are allowed to. We go to the park to bring our children [and] enjoy the fresh air.  My children love to go to public playground area, play [and have] some North Korean Ice cream (eskimo).

You're quite active online. What kind of things do you like to share?

What is the most fun to share is [to share] daily activities in North Korea. Well because people outside are so interested in North Korea [and]  every daily life things in North Korea are fun to share. 

Jaka picks out his favorite photos.

It was a very hot day and the North Korean are there to visit the statue because it is mandatory, and there were a truck passed by.

I love this photo because its unique [that] they got married in the winter time. At first they refused when I asked to take their pictures, but then, they said it's ok. They didn't wear any coats and actually I [thought] they looked quite cold. [Despite that] they smiled for the picture. It was a very colorful scene on the white landscape winter background.

When I was went on the Pyongyang Subway, I put [the camera] GoPro Hero 4 session on the floor. They looked curious but I don't think they knew [that] the camera was on.

I made a selfie in front of the people [who had] gathered for doing [the] rehearsal for the parade. I like it because I looked [different in] contrast [to] the people whose all wearing white shirts.


This is my third daughter who was born in Pyongyang (Pyongyang Maternity Hospital). It [was] a great experience because this hospital is the best maternity hospital in North Korea. Yet, they still have energy crisis, because the water and electricity also runs off [at] times, but the doctors and nurses they do hard work to give the best service.

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