Time Magazine awards David Guttenfelder “Instagram Photographer of the Year”


posted Friday, December 20, 2013 at 1:10 PM EDT


Earlier this year, we profiled David Guttenfelder, an AP photographer whose incredible Instagram stream has given us one of the most astonishing looks at North Korea in living memory. Now Guttenfelder's work is being further honored, as Time Magazine has labelled him Instagram Photographer of the Year.

Guttenfelder is the AP's chief Asia photographer, and was one of the first to be allowed into North Korea. And in recent times, he's taken to using his smartphone and Instagram to help him document the isolationist country. Given the extremely tight controls placed on journalists in those borders, he seems to be able to do an amazing job of capturing the slightly surreal nature of the totalitarian state.

As Time explains:

Guttenfelder’s year of work chips beneath the pariah state’s absurd façade. A government minder shadows him wherever he goes, but his sustained presence in North Korea has yielded a unique perspective. “Nobody knows anything about [North Korea] and what it looks like,” says Guttenfelder, speaking to TIME over Skype from a hotel in Pyongyang. “I feel like there’s a big opportunity and a big responsibility.”

Guttenfelder's unique access, combined with his excellent photographic sensibilities have made for some of the most interesting photojournalism around. Time's recognition of his skills is well deserved, and his Instagram work really is a fascinating look into the details of a place many of will never have the opportunity (or the desire) to ever go to.