Reuters photographer Damir Sagolj has won the Reuters Photo of the Year award for this image captured in North Korea in 2011.
“This is probably the easiest big picture I shot for a long time - it was taken from the window of my hotel room in Pyongyang early morning, just before the sunrise. I knew that portrait was there and I insisted with our hosts to get a room on a very high floor facing that direction. So, all I had to do is to wake up early in the morning, make a coffee, light a cigarette and make sure I exposed well. The scene has this eerie look for maybe 5 to 10 minutes.
This reminds me of the way my heart sinks whenever a good cook explains how easy a dish is to make, saying “all you have to do is, you just…” and then I know I will never, ever, be able to make it. I love the way that managing to wrangle a specific North Korean hotel room, then waking up before dawn, is all part of what makes this one of “the easiest” pictures Sagolj shot. I’ve never been able to get myself a specific hotel room. Anywhere. Let alone North Korea.