Tim Franco France

Cover Image - Tim Franco

French Polish photographer Tim Franco spent 11 years living in Shanghai, China, where he documented rural migration, rapid urbanization, and the social impact of the two. In 2016 he migrated to Seoul, South Korea where he grew increasingly curious about North Korea and the so-called defectors who would flee their homeland. Tim’s series “Unperson”—the name given to a person whose record is erased in George Orwell’s “1984”—presents 15 of these North Korean defectors. Using the treated negatives of Polaroid-style photos, the portraits are stained with chemical blotches and imperfections reflecting the arduous, and often life-threatening, journeys the defectors had taken to start a new life in Seoul. Speaking to each person about their journey, Tim also began to photograph the most popular routes and pit stops along the way. The project in its entirety was published by the Magenta Foundation in February 2021, with a selection of the images featured on our site.