Before BTS came into my life, we’ve always profiled photographers that we’ve been impressed with. The “Dynamite” era proved to be successful for the group and with that came a wave of western press. For months, this left with me a lot of questions. Before I became a fan, were they always getting this much press attention? Why don’t American artists and bands have nearly the same amount of press the way they do? I read every cover story: Variety, Wall Street Journal, and Esquire – all released back to back with each other. Each piece had a different voice and focus because obviously – three different outlets here. The ones I didn’t love as much were the pieces that continued to compare them to The Beatles. Enough, already. The one I loved most was [Esquire]. Dave Holmes had clearly done his research on the group and allowed each member to bring more depth and vulnerability to the piece in a way we haven’t seen before.
After reading each piece, I never returned to the content, but what I came back to more than once was the photos. It’s no secret that, by now, the guys are outfitted in the best looks for these types of shoots. Who can forget the Dior era they had on stage even? But it’s not just about the fashion here. Why do they look like they’ve been modeling for years? Are these the same guys I watched wood carving and singing karaoke from “In the Soop?” Each of these cover stories had one thing in common, photographer, [Hong Jang Hyun].
A quick search leads me to [Hong Jang Hyun’s] Instagram page, a very well known fashion photographer. His range of work spans editorials, collections, and advertisements. In addition to BTS, he has photographed some of my favorite Korean celebrities. Song Hye Kyo, Park Bo Gum, and Park Seo-Joon have all worked with him. Even though these pieces have been out for some time, I keep going back to the photographs – something I rarely do for anyone else.
A few favorites:
There’s a theme here as we follow the guys through this promotional process for “Dynamite” and their new album “BE.” But let’s also not forget that Hong Jang Hyun can do this with BTS too:
When I read pieces, I often leave thinking only about the content and the photos as an afterthought. Hong Jang Hyun’s work leaves me feeling the complete opposite. As someone who wrote for their high school newspaper and yearbook, this concept of these two things supporting each other should have been more important to me back then. I don’t know how many more pieces BTS will have through the end of the year, but we secretly hope that Hong Jang Hyun will continue capturing them every time.
I don’t know why seeing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the cover of Vanity Fair makes me emotional, but it does. These days leading up to the election have made me feel nervous and uncertain about the future. There is only one hand (if that) I can use to recall the number of people in politics that I respect and look up to. AOC is one of those five. For as long as we’ve known her in this spotlight, her voice has been unwavering. She is a role model without even trying and she’s so cool that she’s a household name under my parent’s roof.
Seeing her on the cover of Vanity Fair is powerful. Whether it’s being on this cover or playing “Among Us” live on Twitch, there is no doubting how relatable she is as a figure. She’s one of us. Not that this even needs to be said, but here she is in a matter of weeks being a gamer, in politics, and talking about how her red lip is her signature. As BTS army would say, “the duality!”
For the full cover story, you can read this at [Vanity Fair]
What We’re Watching: BTS Map of the Soul ON:E Virtual Concert
We’ve been looking forward to this all week long! Even though the concert is starting at midnight Pacific Time (way past my bedtime,) it’s exciting to know that it is being streamed live. I forgot what it felt like to become a fan of new music or a new band or artist. In some ways, we may be too old for this. On the other hand, music has always been a universal thing bringing people together and it’s almost better that something like this has no bounds. I’m going to be awfully sleepy tomorrow, but I can’t wait to be watching the concert from the comfort of my own living room.
What We’re Listening To: JUNNY
I first discovered JUNNY’s music by listening to an unreleased track of his on TikTok. At the time, I didn’t know anything about who he was as an artist, but with TikTok, it’s quite easy to go down a rabbit hole. While his sound reminds me of BTS, it’s not exactly in the same genre. There’s a balance of lyrics both in English and Korean, I would also probably categorize him as being more R&B while BTS can do any genre. His last album on Spotify is from 2017, but if you’re looking for something to check out, I would start there and work your way back through his discography and singles.
Running a brief errand this morning, I stopped into a new-ish store in Hayes Valley called Vepublic. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but that’s often times the most dangerous mindset to have! Having heard about Girlfriend Collective and being more aware of activewear brands, I wanted to give it a try. I didn’t see much harm in trying on the sports bra, but that almost led me to buying a second and a pair of leggings. The fabric is so buttery soft! I also love that this isn’t as cropped as a normal sports bra and also not a full tank. It’s right in between.
What We’re Eating: Gimbap
After a day of errands, I also stopped by the Korean market and since we’re watching BTS tonight, figured we could make a whole day out of this to celebrate. I’ve actually never had Gimbap/Kimbap before so I’m excited to try it for the first time!
While the pandemic has proven to be much more challenging on all of our lives, it’s amazing to see how people persevere when they don’t always have their normal resources. For one, editorials and magazine shoots are at is most innovative. In the latest issue of Allure, Selena Gomez is responsible for all of her own makeup. It doesn’t hurt that she’s also promoting her new cosmetics line, Rare Beauty, so she’s no rookie here. Given the circumstances, everything is getting done with a smaller team and smaller production. It just goes to show what we can accomplish when we’re constrained! We love this entire look though. For the full interview, you can read the cover story at [Allure].
We knew it wouldn’t be very long until we made a return to Wedding Mondays. I’ve always loved the series, but felt that if I couldn’t deliver on a weekly basis that it may not be worth having anymore. While we started out sharing wedding videos with the blog, I’ve found that the actual coverage and stories are what I’m being drawn to these days. Both Vogue and The Cut do an incredible job of this by the way.
Both Heesun and Brian threw a celebration that was intimately beautiful. And even though we’re far off from this ourselves, it’s the kind of wedding that my style now gravitates towards. Held at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn, the wedding was as elegant as can be, but in the most understated way. Favorite aspects of this story? That the couple prioritized food and even had a special nod to their Korean heritage and the fact that their DJ played K-Pop. What a dream!
For the full coverage, you can read it all on [The Cut]
What are some little things that you do for yourself that bring you peace and calm? I think one of the reasons we’ve kept “A Collection” going for so long is because of how it makes me feel. I could look at pictures like these on an endless loop and never get tired of it. I’ve often wondered too, when creating these posts, what makes me decide that I’m done? Is it because I think 50-ish photos is enough for people to be enticed by it, but leave them wanting more? Maybe it’s because any more and I will feel sorry for it eating up the loading time for a visitor. There’s no rhyme or reason and each time we post it’s different. It is one of the series regulars that has no consistency or format. That could either really bother someone a lot or not, I don’t know.
Whatever the case, I hope it brings you some light into your life this weekend the way it did mine. Everyone please wear a mask, stay safe, be kind to each other, and check in with someone you haven’t spoken with in some time.