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A photographer captured these dismal photos of life in North Korea on his phone

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inside-north-koreaThe North Korean government is notoriously secretive. Upon entering the country, visitors are instructed on what they can and cannot take pictures of. Customs agents inspect your cellphone and other digital devices, including cameras, tablets, and storage cards, for banned content.

These restrictions prompted Getty photographer Xiaolu Chu to travel by train through the country in August 2015, documenting everyday life through his phone lens. He told Tech Insider that whipping out his DSLR camera was too risky in some of the villages, where the locals reported sightings to the police.

While some images were deleted during run-ins with the police, Chu shared the remainder of his trip with us. Here’s what it was like:

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