The growing population of fangirls and fanboys of Korean idols and artists have started a new hobby: collecting photocards. Basically, we love to collect something that gives us the feeling of happiness. Some people collect shoes, watches, bags, accessories, books, and even pens. These photo cards come with only 8.5 x 5.5 cm in size paper printed with pictures of Korean boy and girl group members or solo artists. Usually, it comes as a selfie or a group photo. Mainly, it comes as an added bonus from their merchandise or an album. Plus, an exciting factor comes with the fact that you won’t know whose picture you will pull.
Collecting K-pop photocards – a fan’s new way to relieve stress
But, of course, if it’s for a solo celebrity or a singer’s album, you can only have one profile that will be printed on paper. You’re lucky if you get the concept photo you wanted. However, one rarely becomes picky on random photocards. Most of the fans feel satisfied and happy with whatever photocard they get.
I have a friend named RJ. He remains a big of K-pop groups, a self-proclaimed Itzy, Loona, Twice, and Stray Kids fanboy. However, he only collects photocards for Twice and Itzy “for now,” he admits since he is only a student with no source of income.
This fanboy shared with me his experience as a photocard collector. And this is how it goes.
His photocard collection serves as an investment. Investment of happiness and investment of money. How did it become an investment for money? According to him, the value of rare photocards increases as time goes by. However, selling it is not part of his plan. Not unless for emergency or as badly needed. Plus, the feeling of excitement. Imagine: an album arrives and you unbox it. Then, you see your favorite member’s photocards past a different level of joy.
It’s like winning the lottery. In addition, he only started collecting last year. In addition, he only started collecting last year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he became a fan. A fan who spends money to buy merchandise and albums and eventually turned into photocards. Lockdown and quarantine made him bored in life. And, losses motivation in all aspects, studying and doing what he loves which includes sketching and drawing. Adding to cart and checking out became his hobby. This resulted in a less-stressed-prisoned-like situation for him.
Another photocard collector also has a story behind this habit. She started collecting photocards in 2018.
This collection below is some of what she had collected. Not even a half of it. Buying and trading photocards are her own way of stanning a group. Most of her idols are in a group with five and more members such as GOT7, The Boyz, Seventeen, TXT, BTS, and Enhypen. Some released albums have different concepts and these concepts meant different types of photocards of each member. And, she collected the photocards set which means all members’ photocards in different concepts. She bought a lot of albums only to complete them.
Of course, there were times that she got the same photocards she already pulled. What did she do? Album after album – until she finds the photocards that she needed. Not to mention, album set price ranges from Php 1000 and up. Don’t forget the International Shipping fee. But, luckily, there are shops who offered a little different amount.
Her collection helped her mentally. Whenever her Kpop merch arrived, the excitement it brings felt different. It takes away her tiredness and stress.
“Imagine, even a small piece of paper can make one feel happy. What more if you got the complete set.”
She cares about her happiness more than the money she spent. Because why not? You can earn back the money that you spent, especially if you really went all out to find something as your main source of income. But happiness is hard to find. So, when you found it. You make the most of it.
However, according to her, one should know how to properly manage their expenditures. You must also set limits for yourself. If it affects you negatively, you have to stop. Which is also right. No need to feel envy because you can’t afford one.
A reminder: Having any albums, merchandise, or having none of it doesn’t measure you as a fan.
Those materials only serve as a bonus. But, the support you give to your idols is the big deal. And, to those who are saying that collecting photocards are a waste of money. To tell you the truth, collecting these small printed materials is better than having illegal and bad habits. If these photocards offer you happiness, then these papers cannot be considered as paper only.
Keep doing what makes you stress-free. Keep doing what makes you happy!
May Ann Lorio Leanillo is a Journalism Student from Cavite State University. She loves writing but is still learning and exploring the world of pen and paper. Watching action movies, mystery, fiction, and fantasy genres is what she enjoys the most in her free time. Believes that hard work and determination works over skills.