When Korean superstar Kim Hyun Joong (“Boys Over Flowers”, “Playful Kiss”) visited Spain last year, fans thought it was for a well-earned vacation. As it turned out, the visit was for a special photobook project which Kim Hyun Joong himself referenced as a “gift” for his fans in the year 2010. I am not really sure if this was what he referred to but given the style and quality of the photobook, I would say this was the gift he talked about.
Ready, Action! Kim Hyun Joong in Spain is an excellently conceptualized photobook. It is divided into two main sections: Ready and Action. The Ready section features the artist in relaxed settings including photos of him enjoying the beach, walking his dog, sleeping in, going to the market, playing football and traveling. The Action! section shows the artist’s multi-faceted personality through expressions of various moods including being adventurous, charismatic, defiant, passionate and romantic.
What I love about this photobook is that I feel closer to the artist as I flipped through the almost-100% spot-on photos. I say almost 100% spot-on since there were some “posed” shots which I would have taken out if I was the editor. Candids would have been more expressive of the artist specially in the Composure chapter. I would have appreciated night shots for the Romance chapter rather than the day shots they took at that dusty bullfighting arena. I just don’t see Kim Hyun Joong as a romantic matador.
Since the book has English translations of the Korean text, it is very friendly to international fans. The text is written in the first person point of view making Kim Hyun Joong’s words more personal and reachable. Those who have been his fans for a long time will also see traces of his 4-dimensional personality which will definitely elicit laughs. My top five favorite entries include:
- From Action, “Many eyes that stare at me. If I can’t avoid it. enjoy it.”
- From Defiant Attitude, “If you have self assurance, you should be able to express yourself no matter what others say…This is my, Kim Hyun Joong style.” (Shortened from original)
- From Dog, “He who wags his tail to anyone is not my style…That’s why I like dog better than puppy. It sometimes is cold and gives threat to a stranger but in front of his master, he shows all sides of him.” (Shortened from original)
- From Romance, “No hesitation as if never been heart broken or never had fear before, like today is the last day, I will love.”
- From Passion, “Passion to fall in love like a puppy.”
But enough about the words, this is a photobook so what do I think of the photos?
To be frank, when I first opened the photobook, I was unable to complete flipping through the book after the first three pages. Why? My heart was already hyperventilating from the first three pages. I decided to close the book and enjoy it later in the comfort of my home where I can scream and feel giddy all I want. The photos were simply gorgeous! They were sophisticated. As expected, Kim Hyun Joong can wear anything he likes and still look like a walking monument. His famous flawless skin is also a highlight even if we know there’s some photoshop involved. Ready, Action! is a photobook that will appeal to Kim Hyun Joong’s fanbase which includes the younger set and the not-so-young set. This photobook is indeed something a true Kim Hyun Joong fan can treasure.