The portraits with which Patrick Swirc began his career have appeared on the covers of Elle (Catherine Deneuve) and Time (Jean-Marie Le Pen). His eminent subjects have included Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Morgan Freeman, Clint Eastwood, Larry Flynt, Isabelle Adjani, Gus Van Sant, Javier Bardem, Charlotte Rampling, George Lucas, Quentin Tarantino, Peter Greenaway and Kristin Scott Thomas. While that success has been rewarding, Swirc has also begun to weary of it; his most recent work documents his travels to far and often dangerous areas of the world. Along with Myanmar, Darjeeling and Kabul, Swirc has traveled to North Korea. This, his North Korean work, is less scenic than social and political, a return to portraiture that records the intensity with which he himself was watched: "It is impossible to travel alone in North Korea. As soon as you arrive, two guides pick you up... you are not allowed to do anything without them. They prevent you from speaking with anybody. As my two guards said that it was forbidden to take any photographs, I decided to photograph them."
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