About Luc Forsyth
Luc Forsyth is a freelance photojournalist and writer who specializes in social and humanitarian storytelling. This is his blog, a place to share photography, writing and ideas.
You can contact Luc at firstname.lastname@example.org
Luc is a collaborating member of the Ruom Collective. Bringing together journalists, researchers, videographers, and photographers, the collective provides an opportunity to exchange and share information - providing multiple perspectives and more depth to long-term documentary projects.
SubscribeEnter your email address above for updates on featured stories and content.
Support Independent Journalism
All of my projects are self-funded. The costs of travel and equipment are substantial. If you would like to continue to see stories that aren't always featured in the mainstream media, please consider a small one-off donation or a monthly subscription to help keep independent journalism alive.
- 5 Reasons to Set Aside Your Ego: The Benefits of Working Together December 3, 2013
- What Do Monks Eat For Breakfast? November 21, 2013
- Underwater Gold Miners in Southern Leyte November 14, 2013
- March of the Monks: Black and White November 12, 2013
- March to the Arang Valley November 7, 2013
Looking For Something?
- Working as a freelancer? 13 ways you can avoid pissing off your photo editor @photoshelter #photojournalism - http://t.co/oDNyAFEAec about 7 hours ago from TweetDeck ReplyRetweetFavorite
- Want to get your work on the @nytimesphoto lens blog? Great advice from @JamesEstrin - http://t.co/igNm31Kmgq about 7 hours ago from TweetDeck ReplyRetweetFavorite
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
Monthly Archives: April 2012
Since I’m waiting for my translator to finish the transcription of the most recent North Korean defector interview – which turned out to be an amazing story – here are some images from one of the night protests outside the Chinese embassy in Seoul. Despite the cold rain, activists were outside advocating North Korean rights, something they say they will do every day and night for 1000 days.
While working on my project about the lives of North Korean defectors I was asked to document Justice for North Korea’s six-week conference on human rights. The event is divided into six two-hour lectures featuring documentary films, guest speakers and human rights activists, and aims to give a close up and personal look at the challenges facing North Koreans.
On the first night I was able to spend some time speaking to and photographing this man, Kang Won Cheol, a defector who successfully reached South Korea in 2005.
On his first attempt to flee North Korea he was only 14 years old (13 in the Western system of birthdays). Though he was able to escape to China, he found himself lost and confused until he was picked up by Chinese border police and forcefully repatriated. The flight back to Pyongyang was the first time he had ever been on an airplane, an experience that he says would have been “a dream come true for any North Korean” had the circumstances been different.
Once in custody of the North Korean secret police he was, along with a dozen or so others, interrogated for weeks while they tried to get him to admit to being a defector. While under the scrutiny of the interrogators he witnessed the torture – and in some cases the executions – of the others in the group, uncertain of his future. During this time he remembered thinking that if he was able to survive he would never again try to escape.
He managed to resist however, and the police were unable to conclusively prove that he was planning on defecting, instead believing his story that he had just been searching for food. Foraging attempts are becoming increasingly common as the food situation in North Korea becomes desperate, says Kang.
Despite his promise to himself that he would not put himself in such a dangerous situation again, Won Cheol decided to attempt escape again soon after he was released. In 2005, still a teenager, he snuck into China for a second time. To be caught was almost certain death, or a lifetime in a labor camp at the very least.
With the help of a South Korean missionary he was eventually able to cross into Mongolia where he was flown to Seoul and given South Korean citizenship. I can’t possibly imagine any high school students I know being capable of such a feat.
I will be speaking to Won Cheol again in more detail as this project continues, but if the conference continues to put me in touch with more people like this, the next six weeks should be an amazing and enlightening experience.
I’ve been completely swamped recently trying to meet a writing deadline, so I apologize for the lack of posts recently.
Since taking part in the North Korean Repatriation protests outside the Chinese embassy a few weeks ago, I’ve started to build up a contact base among some North Korean defectors. With the help of my friend Moon Yeong acting as translator, I’ve been able to start interviewing some of these people and we’ve heard some amazing stories. The process has been slow as many defectors are nervous about having their photo taken (many have families remaining in North Korea and they will face harsh punishments if it is discovered they are related to a defector), but it promises to be a great project.
Here are a couple of nice images of the evening protests, held every night. The full stories will be coming as soon as I can get caught up with my assignments.