Discuss as:

Surreal scenes of everyday life in North Korea

David Guttenfelder / AP

In this April 15, 2011 photo, North Korean children dressed as panda bears prepare to take part in a dance performance to mark the birthday of late leader Kim Il Sung at a park in Pyongyang.

The Associated Press released a series of images today from the last year in North Korea. AP writes:

It's hard to imagine a North Korea without Kim Jong Il, who led the nation for 17 years until his death on Dec. 17. His death marks the end of an era for North Korea, which has known only two leaders: Kim and his father, Kim Il Sung. Already, a new era has begun under the leadership of his young son, Kim Jong Un. Still, Kim Jong Il's presence is felt in every frame of a series of images made by AP photographer David Guttenfelder. During the last months of Kim's life, Guttenfelder, along with AP  Korea Bureau Chief Jean H. Lee, made several trips to North Korea.

David Guttenfelder / AP

In this Oct. 24, 2011 photo, North Korean women work at looms at a thread factory in Pyongyang, North Korea.

David Guttenefelder / AP

In this Oct. 11, 2011 photo, a North Korean diners, one holding a pet puppy, enjoy dinner at a restaurant in Pyongyang.

David Guttenfelder / AP

In this Sunday Oct. 9, 2011, a North Korean cashier helps customers at Pyongyang Department Store No. 1 in downtown Pyongyang.

David Guttenfelder / AP

In this Oct. 10, 2011 photo, a North Korean man weeps and holds a hand of a young girl as they stand before a statue of the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung on the 66th anniversary of the communist nation's ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang.

See more of David Guttenfelder's images from North Korea in this slideshow, and previously in PhotoBlog.

Related: North Korea in PhotoBlog.