To take a fresh breath and feel tiny in front of the depth of the wilderness always more beautiful. Is what Johan Lolos, travel photographer and influencer, more prominent under the Instagram account @lebackpacker, wants to show through his photographs. Meeting with this Belgian man who makes part of those who succeeded in the digital world thanks to Instagram.
Can you introduce yourself?
I’m 30 years old, I’m Belgian with Greek origins, and I’m graduate in public relations. I’m a travel photographer and influencer on social media for more than four years.
How are you choosing your destinations?
My principal source of inspiration is the internet. I try to go where every travel photographer dreams to go once in his life. I also love to go where not a lot of photographers have set their camera. There is always a guiding theme: the vast spaces.
How unfold your gateways?
In the beginning, I was letting the fluke chose. Today things are different. My work is professional now, so even if I like the fluke, most of the time I sleep more in hotels but than in my tent because of logistic. However, one thing doesn’t change: I’m always on the road.
Can you explain us your first steps on Instagram?
When I went to Australia for my first trip in 2013, I got friendly with the « Voyager Loin » team (a collective of a tens travellers who share their pictures and travel advice ». I wrote articles for them, which help me to have a visiting card. Thanks to this activity, I could enjoy great touristic experiences. I took a lot of shots while this period, I created a different content than the one seen on Instagram at that moment. I started to post on my account with right hashtags. Over time, I have been reposted by famous accounts. After a year in Australia, I got 25 000 followers.
Why did you choose to create your Instagram account @lebackpacker? Wasn’t a website enough?
No. A website is a showcase when you already have a reputation. Social media are the strategy keys to bring people to know you. I had an account for a long time. When I get that people can make a living on this platform, it’s becoming evidence: Feed my account with professional contents.
What was the moment where you defined yourself as an influencer?
When I reached 50 000 followers, at the beginning of 2015. Now, I have 500 K followers.
Watch my #TEDx talk from last week:
"Follow your gut and dreams then end up with 500K followers on Instagram"
It's in French, but you can turn on the auto-translate and you'll still get the whole idea 🙂 @TEDx @TEDxUNamur https://t.co/Eu0wFrck2S pic.twitter.com/f786yo0v4S
— Johan Lolos (@LeBackpacker) March 9, 2018
What are your advantages with your account?
First of all, I have a job! Instagram helped me to be known as a photographer. Also, I travel without any limits. I negotiate everything, and I don’t spend much money.
Is Instagram allow you to make a good living?
Yes, 50% of my incomes come from Instagram; The rest of my earnings is linked to my photographer work.
Can you disclose your next projects?
Yes, of course! First of all, my first book (above) will be available at the end of may. It’s a story & photography book about my last five months trip across Europe. Secondly, I’m flying to Myanmar for three weeks to discover locals cultures. It’s a major first for me, a challenge. This trip will be oriented on learning and not landscape. Even if there is a significant chance for me to be in the west part of United-States this summer, I want to travel more in Africa and Asia because human relationships attract me increasingly. Well, I keep organising my workshop once or two times per year, of course!