We’d like to introduce our newest LomoAmigo, Justin Thompson! As the former photographer of Fall Out Boy, Justin captured a bunch of Fall Out Boy photos never seen before. Check out Justin’s interview and Fall Out Boy’s lost photos after the jump!
REAL NAME: Justin Thompson
CITY: Chicago, IL
How long have you been a Lomographer (or are you new to this whole thing)?
I have been a lomographer for about three years. I’m an old man now, but I remember a long time ago when I was in high school, my friend George bought an old Russian lomo on eBay. I was amazed with some of the images he produced, but I never got around to getting one myself. When the art started to become a little more popular again- he was the first thing I thought of… The guy in high school doing it before it was “cool”. But me, myself- only a few years.
Describe the Lomo LC-A+ in five words.
Fun, exciting, mysterious, unconventional, cool
The strangest, funniest, or hands-down greatest photographic/Lomographic encounter you’ve ever had?
My all time favorite lomo/photographic moment was not out on tour with a band. I am a huge animal lover- especially with dogs. I’ve worked to help rescue dogs and volunteer my time in animal shelters my entire adult life. I have two dogs of my own now- one is a rescue. But at the time (this actually does fall in the time I was working for FOB touring full time) I would get little breaks in touring and get to be home with my dogs. I had three dogs at the time- my three favorite things on the planet- like my children. One summer I was home for a week, playing in my backyard with them and was just messing around snapping some random photos. The three dogs – Max power (my 10 year old jack Russell, and the only one of the three I still have from that time), Steve (A 6 year old ridgeback mix who I lost to stomach cancer nearly two years ago) and Sophie – my blue pitbull (who I adored but lost a little over a year ago because of a tragic story) were all laying in this amazing triangular pattern, all looking so perfect and I snapped this photo that is probably my favorite photo of all time. The three dogs in that photo were everything to me at the time, and I absolutely adore and cherish that photo every day. Shot with my LC-A+ on the lomo Xpro film.
If your photos shown here could have a soundtrack of three songs, what would they be (song title & artist please)?
I’m always listening when I’m out taking photos. At the time I was [and I still am] super into country/folk stuff and my favorite artist in that genre is probably Chuck Ragan. When I was out with FOB, I was listening to his album “Feast or Famine” a TON, and a song that brings me right back to that time in my life is “Geraldine”.
I think every artist has this- but I have songs that bring me very vividly back to a specific moment in time. The song “Ghosts of York” by As Tall As Lions is a big one for me. I was out with FOB doing some international touring, and I was going through some different things in my life…when it comes on I am instantly snapped back to a night walking around alone in Germany. I don’t remember exactly what city it is but they have all of this insanely cool graffiti behind the venue and I started there just to get out for a while and set out on a solo photo mission listening to that album, thinking about things, shooting photos to try to get my mind off of other things… that song snaps me right back there every time I hear it.
Of course, I have to have a FOB track on here… I was around these songs so much and they shaped the last 5 years of my career. I grew to love a lot off the songs I’d hear every day, day after day. But I probably had the most involvement with their last album Folie A Deux, and my favorite track to hear every day on that one is definitely “Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes”. I love that song, and I definitely took many, many photos and video while hearing that song in one way or another.
If you could take your LC-A+ and a sack of film anywhere in the world right now, where would you go, what would you do, and why?
Osaka, Japan is probably my favorite place in the world. It’s so interesting to me. Cool people and style, great lights and atmosphere, cool architecture- it’s just so different it feels like another planet. I think I could photograph there for the rest of my life and not get bored- there’s so much cool stuff to see.
The one person (living or deceased) who you would most like to photograph.
This is a tough one for me. I’m not big into famous people or celebrities, I don’t really “look up” to people or have any heroes. Honest answer is probably my beautiful girlfriend Lisa. I love taking pictures of her. She’s very photogenic, fun to photograph, and the closest person to me both physically around all the time and emotionally, so not only is she usually right there and available when I need a subject to shoot or spice up a background image I like, but she’s also usually open to do whatever I ask so I can get a cool photo which I always appreciate. I’m sure it’s annoying to have the guy who takes a million photos and asks you to pose a million ways to get a good shot but she’s a good sport about it. And her nice facial structure always lends to beautiful images. So she’s definitely my favorite thing to photograph.
Being on tour with bands such as Fall Out Boy and Blink 182 must be pretty crazy and unpredictable. What’s the craziest experience that you’ve had while on the road?
Honestly- I’ve been pretty luck as both of those bands are really laid back on tour. With FOB, we used to travel with this guy named Dirty who provided most of the entertainment. Pete would come up with these hilarious ideas to have Dirty do things that broke up the monotony of tour. As far as a “crazy” tour experience… hmm… when I was first starting out with Fall Out Boy, we were at a show at the Hard Rock at Universal Studios in Florida. It was the last show of the tour- New Found Glory was out with us. There was an airbrush t-shirt stand across the lake in the middle of the park, and Pete wanted to get airbrush t-shirts. He also didn’t like to travel outside of the backstage of venues in a large group as to not draw attention. So he and Dirty set out around the lake and our security at the time Charlie caught wind and went out after them. When I saw Charlie run out, I followed with my camera. As I hurried to the shirt stand, groups of kids were literally full on sprinting past me as I heard them screaming Pete’s name and mumblings of the Wentz sighting. By the time I caught up to them, Pete Dirty and Charlie were at the airbrush t-shirt stand with a mob of hundreds of kids around. I had to fight my way in. Pete and Dirty had their shirts made and Charlie wrestled a path out, and the 4 of us sprinted back to the venue, followed by the biggest line of rushing kids I had ever seen. It felt like how Beatlemania looked for a minute. I looked back over my shoulder, and there were literally hundreds of kids yelling and screaming and running behind us- it looked endless. As it happened, at that moment all I could think was “man, this band is huge”. And at that time, they were probably at their biggest. But that moment kind of set me up for the following 4 years of touring with them and I remember it like it was yesterday.
What are your “tour essentials”? Things that you can’t do without when you’re traveling for photo shoots? Lomographers like to wander around a lot.
When I actually get out to shoot for fun, I’m usually listening to something. So my phone or an iPod or whatever it may be- putting something into my ears. I feel more creative when I’m listening to something I’m really into. Same goes for the bigger shoots I’ve found myself working on now- I usually pick the soundtrack to the day. I like to have a bunch of different tools for shooting- different cameras loaded with different film stocks, a small tripod or a little gorilla pod if I’m wandering and can’t carry a tripod, but no matter what I’m doing my camera bag is usually busting at the seams jammed with tons of tools. You may only need something once but having it with you can help capture something amazing. The LC-A+ is something I always have around if I set out to do anything photo or video related. It’s always in my bag, and I’m always snapping random photos on it.
What tips can you share to Lomographers who aspire to shoot band photography and videos?
Start small. I got into this business by filming and shooting photos of bands for free. I shot as many shows as I could- any time a band I was into came through Chicago, I would find and contact their management asking if I could shoot them for free and send them the content- be it photos or video. I build a list of good contacts doing that- which eventually led to someone offering me my first music video. One thing led to another, and I got hooked up with Fall Out Boy and worked for them full time shooting all of their photo and video content for nearly 5 years, and have also produced photo and video content for the Honda Civic Tour every year since 2006. But start small- go shoot little bands at the small venues for free, meet people, show your stuff… Eventually you’ll get that call for a paid job or something even bigger. Get in touch with other photographers like me who have been shooting in the industry for a while- I’m never opposed or afraid to bring an aspiring photographer along for a shoot. I feel like I have been very lucky in this business thus far and I love to pass my experience and opportunities along to the next generation.
Your advice to future Lomo LC-A+ shooters.
Don’t expect anything amazing. You can get some really really great looking shots from the LC-A+ but you can’t really set out to do that. Every time I shoot something and think… “that’s going to be the best shot ever” it comes back bad, but it’s the unexpected random ones you just snap not thinking about them that come back blowing your mind. Don’t take them too seriously- you can’t really predict what’s going to come out of that thing. Just shoot stuff for fun and every once in a while you’ll get surprised with something truly incredible.
Check out more of Fall Out Boy’s Lost Photos below: