NYC Photoshopped To Look Like North Korea

NYC Photoshopped To Look Like North Korea

Artist shows what it would be like to live in a city with tightly controlled resources, where freedom is much harder to come by.

Ross Brooks
  • 2 may 2013

Post-apocalyptic scenes have been used in movies and books as a way to captivate audiences for a long time – but now everyday places are being transformed thanks to photo editing software.

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea is what inspired artist Nickolay Lamm to Photoshop New York City to look like the North Korean city of Pyongyang. He is a master at this style of work, having demonstrated what US landmarks would like if sea levels rose.

The city looks drastically different before and after – with lighting being a lot dimmer, cars taking on a more rustic feel and the number of people falling off significantly. Nickolay’s photos give you a real sense of what it would be like to live in a country where resources are limited and everything is controlled.



Apart from the apparent limited resources, the state of control is also apparent when it comes to information and behaviour. Advertisements have been replaced by propaganda and in one photo, even the couple have been Photoshopped so that they aren’t holding hands any more – due to the fact public displays of affection are looked down upon in the Communist state.

PSFK spoke to the artist, who put the project in perspective:

North Korea is often in the news, but I feel it’s hard for us to imagine what everyday life in North Korea is really like. The only images I see in the news are large military parades and mass gatherings. I feel that these illustrations show just how fortunate we are to live where we do. There’s a lot of negativity in the news about our economy and a whole host of other issues. But, in the grand scheme of things, we have it pretty good.

New York as North Korea


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