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Seo Jeong-min
The author is a senior reporter of the JoongAng Ilbo.
Last week we talked about the newly-coined word, honnollog. It’s an abbreviation of honja noneun V-log, which refers to the honnol culture where young Koreans enjoy spending time alone and film themselves to upload videos on social media.
Hontoism is an abbreviation of honja, or alone, and Photoism, the name of a popular self-service photo studio chain in Korea.
When you go to popular spots crowded with young people, you'll often find self-service photo studios. There are a variety of brands including Four Cuts of Life, which was the first of its kind when it launched in 2017, Photoism, Selpix, Photo Signature, and Haru Film.
People don’t need to make a reservation to use the service and there are no staff at the studios. Instead, visitors just go inside a small photo booth, insert 4,000 to 5,000 won ($2.80 to $3.50), touch the screen to take pictures and wait a minute for them to be printed.
The concept is quite similar to “photo stickers,” which were popular back in the 2000s. At the time, people used to take photos with their friends and share the printed copies together.
Nowadays, people enjoy the whole process all alone. 
More and more people have started to take pictures of themselves as they are, being honest with their own feelings. This would be the reason why hontoism has become a new trend.
The growing popularity of things that feel retro is another factor. Young people are charmed by analog photographs, as the idea of having a hard copy has become something of a novelty for them.
It will take years for them to know how strange it is to see themselves in the faded photo that lose their color as time passes. I’m not sure if this trend will survive long enough for those moments to come.

BY SEO JEONG-MIN [meantree@joongang.co.kr]
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