The last time we featured Amy Lombard on It’s Nice That, it was her photographs of pet animals preened and packaged for an animal show in the USA that we were babbling over. This time around it’s the Brooklyn-based documentary photographer’s new series about the Kidz Bop phenomenon sweeping the US that we’re gushing over, and if it seems like a sizeable gap between the two subjects, then it’s an appropriate reflection of the breadth of her work.
“I will never forget getting the call for this assignment,” Amy explained. “February was a very busy month for me. After working every single day of New York Fashion week I hopped on a plane to Detroit for five days to photograph Insane Clown Posse. After that, I went straight to Reno, Nevada to live at the Bunny Ranch (a legal brothel most known for the HBO show Cat House) for a story for VICE. These kind of scenarios aren’t out of the normal for me.
“While standing in a cul-de-sac with a handful of brothels and a strip club with my camera in hand, I get a call from a photo editor at Businessweek who tells me she finally has the perfect assignment for me: the Kidz Bop tour. It was kind of comical just given that where I was at that moment in time could not have been more opposite in terms of subject matter – but she was right, it was the perfect assignment for me.”
The assignment from Bloomberg Businessweek was to photograph Kidz Bop, an ever-changing group of four young teen singers who perform kid-friendly versions of pop hits to concert halls teeming with children, most of whom are at their very first event of this kind. The concept originated in 2002, and has grown to become a national wonder in the USA.
"While standing in a cul-de-sac with a handful of brothels and a strip club with my camera in hand, I get a call from a photo editor at _Businessweek_ who tells me she finally has the perfect assignment for me: the Kidz Bop tour."Amy Lombard
“I feel very grateful that as a photographer I am commissioned regularly to do things that I would want to shoot regardless,” Amy continues. “The Kidz Bop tour is certainly no exception to that. I’m fascinated by these sort of cultural phenomenons, especially if they somehow manage to go under the radar in a mainstream sense. Not to say Kidz Bop isn’t mainstream, but I don’t think most people understand the influence Kidz Bop has. For me personally, I very distinctly remember the infomercials as a kid and singing along to it.”
She describes the experience as somewhat surreal. “After my week at the Bunny Ranch I took a flight to Dallas, Texas. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, I knew that Kidz Bop as a company was a huge force, but I wasn’t particularly expecting the level of fandom that I was walking into. You know the photos of girls at Beatles concerts during the height of their fame? That’s kind of what it felt like. It was sweet but, yes, it definitely made me feel old. The kids were completely and totally transfixed on the experience and music – it was amazing, I have to say. The Kidz Bop Kids (the stars of the show) had the presence of seasoned pros, and it showed as they sung along to hits from Iggy Azalea to Maroon 5.”
The resulting photographs capture this perfectly; swarms of effervescent kids bubbling with excitement and energy seem to mirror the bright spotlights, bright, sparkly outfits and enormous venue perfectly. Head over to Bloomberg Businessweek’s dedicated article page to read a fascinating account of the phenomenon, complete with visuals and infographics alongside Amy’s fantastic photographs. Perfect assignment indeed!