Often when we think of North Korea, we imagine a cold, grey, concrete Soviet wasteland where people wearily practice highly-choreographed communist parades, nervously feigning enthusiasm. These photos by Australian photographer, Nic Ojae, however, show a very different, much more colorful side to the hermit kingdom than the ones you usually see on CNN.

Shot on medium format film that was later smuggled out of the country, they depict shots of public swimming pools, traditional dances, and facets of both urban and rural life in the DPRK.

Weirdly enough, things don't look utterly miserable. The bright pastel colors that appear to be so popular in the socialist dystopia carry a distinct tinge of Americana, making the country look like an Asian version of 1960s Palm Springs.

It's an unorthodox depiction of North Korea that won Ojae the People's Choice award at the Melbourne Independent Photography festival and is set to appear in a self-published book titled Colorful Order.

Also check out these Wes Anderson-esque North Korean interiors.

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