Singapore photographer Aram Pan shoots rare aerial footage of North Korea's capital Pyongyang

SINGAPORE - Singapore photographer Aram Pan has captured rare aerial footage of Pyongyang, offering viewers a closer look at what the North Korean capital looks like.

Mr Pan, 41, first posted a 6½-minute video of his "Flight over Pyongyang" on YouTube last Saturday (Sept 2).

"It's a rare treat that a foreigner is allowed photography and filming over the skies of North Korea and even rarer to be doing so in a Piper Matrix PA-46 light plane," he wrote in the video's caption.

The footage, which was shot in May 2016, has been featured on several news sites, including Britain's Daily Mail and Global News in Canada, over the past week.

Colourful buildings, skyscrapers and highways can be seen in the video, although the city seemed strangely devoid of people and vehicles.

Pyongyang's population is estimated to be around 2.5 million.

Mr Pan is known for his photography of North Korea, and was given permission by its government to conduct several photographic flights in 2016. 

He told The Straits Times on Thursday that he has made 15 trips - the first in 2013 and the last in September last year - to the reclusive country for his photography project, DPRK 360.

The project's aim is to "open a window into North Korea" through the use of photos, videos and virtual reality technology.

The former marketing and communications professional, who specialises in architecture photography, revealed that aside from military movements, he was afforded free rein in taking photos or videos. 

"It was quite an exhilarating experience overall. I felt quite privileged as being allowed to fly over Pyongyang in a light plane was usually reserved only for diplomats," he said. 

Mr Pan was also featured in the news in 2014 when he was granted access to take photos onboard several aircraft owned by North Korea's state-owned airline Air Koryo.