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Mark Edward Harris


Traffic Officer, Pyongyang, North Korea 2008

Mark Edward Harris (b.1958, United States) began his professional photography career after receiving his Masters Degree in Pictorial/Documentary History from California State University, Los Angeles. His editorial work has appeared in publications ranging from Life, GEO, Stern and The Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, to The London Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Wallpaper, Conde Nast Traveler, and Playboy. He is the recipient of numerous awards including a CLIO, ACE, Aurora Gold, and Photographer of the Year at the Black & White Spider Awards. His books include Faces of the Twentieth Century: Master Photographers and Their Work, The Way of the Japanese Bath, Wanderlust, North Korea, South Korea, and Inside Iran. North Korea was named Photography Book of the Year at the 2013 International Photography Awards.

About the Photograph:

“In 2008 I was given the opportunity to document the New York Philharmonic’s historic concert in North Korea’s capital of Pyongyang. I had been to the reclusive country twice before but this was the first time I would be in the country with a large contingent of Americans, the largest in fact since the Korean War.  I had noticed the colorfully dressed traffic officers before but had not been able to do an up close and personal environmental portrait of them. Though my escorts were very friendly, my requests to stop and let me out to photograph the traffic officers had not been accepted. Finally during one of the orchestra’s rehearsals I was able to go out for a little stroll and came face to face with the woman in this photo. She didn’t seem too thrilled about being the subject of my impromptu photo session but she was busy directing traffic. I held my Nikon speedlight with a ¼ CTO on it high and off to my left to reduce the harsh shadows and took a few quick shots with my Nikon D3. I made it back into the auditorium just in time to here the last bars of Rhapsody in Blue. Now my traffic officer in blue is on the cover of North Korea which was named the Book of the Year at the 2013 International Photography Awards.”


[via Verve Photo- The New Breed of Documentary Photographers]

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