tyrone lebon on the making of reely and truly
As one of the world’s brightest young photographers, you’d think Tyrone Lebon knew everything there was to know about the art of picture-taking but think again. Armed with a camera, a plane ticket and a plan, Tyrone embarked on a tour of the world...
Made in collaboration with Grolsch Filmworks, DoBeDo and Somesuch is a cinematic documentary that questions desire, photography and truth and (we're told) a extended trailer of sorts for a bigger project come 2015. Want to know more? No worries. A couple of days after the film's premiere at the ICA, we caught up with Tyrone and his father (also one of the documentaries subjects) photographer Mark Lebon whilst out for lunch to get their thoughts on the film.
How did the film come about?
Tyrone: I wanted to make documentaries after I finished studying but then got drawn into photography and its taken almost 10 years to come back round to it. The last few years I was immersed in my own work and it was a welcome break to take some time away from myself and see how other photographers I admire approach their work and lives.
How many different cities did Reely and Truly take you to?
Tyrone: Ten I think. London, Vienna, Venice, Nurenburg, Kolkata, Bangkok, Bangsen, Tokyo, Hitachi, New York…
Was it challenging to make the film?
Tyrone: The parts where I was travelling back-to-back and working as a one man band were pretty hard. Interviewing, recording sound, loading cameras, shooting both film and photos, and trying to think ahead and organise everything for the next city…
Why did you do everything yourself? Was it because of budget restraints or because you wanted to have that control over it?
Tyrone: Throughout the filming process I had a massive team helping me, it was just when I was actually filming that wanted to keep the crew to an absolute minimum, just to keep it more personal and the footage to be more intimate. Also financially to lug a whole crew around to all those places wouldn't have been possible. Even if the money was there, I think I would have approached it in pretty much the same way. Behind the scenes there was a crew of five or six people all helping to process the footage, edit the sound but it was all pretty tight time-wise to turn it all around after I got back from the main trip.
When was the main trip?
Tyrone: When did I get back Dad?
Mark: May or June
What advice did you dad give you - if any - when making the film?
Tyrone: Dad what advice did you give me about the film?
Mark: I kept on asking him to write a script before we shot it, which he refused to do. Then I asked him to write a script while we were he was filming, which he refused to do. Basically everything I suggested was for him, which helped decide what the right thing was.
What did you learn from the other photographers in the film?
Tyrone: There wasn't anything specific but the whole experience definitely helped give me some perspective on certain things about my photography and working as a photographer that I was feeling unclear about before going into this.
What do you think are some of the pros and cons of contemporary photography today?
Tyrone: That everyone can take pictures today is exciting, but it means theres a lot of visual pollution that probably distracts us from more important things.
You mentioned in your address to the audience that this is the first half of a project to be revealed next year? Can you reveal anything about second half?
Tyrone: This film should be seen as an extended trailer for a bigger book project. The book will include photographs, texts, and films about thirty or so photographers - each film will be a short 15ish-minute portrait of each photographer, it will be published by 'DoBeDo Books' and I hope to have it finished by this time next year. I just need to persuade another 10 or so people on my wish list to let me film with them.
Who else is on your wishlist?
Tyrone: I've been trying to track down people like Larry Clark and Harmony Korine, although he's not necessarily a photographer I've loved his films and imagery since I was a kid. I was trying to track down June Newton [Alice Springs] she would be amazing.
Mark: It would be good to get some really young people, who haven't hit their career yet. I mean I know you've got a few. Maybe it would be good to let some old has-beens, apart from me, who've lost sort of lost the plot and gone a bit underground. Some really eccentric old people but maybe you've already got that!
Tyrone: I'd love to get someone like Don McCullin, the war photographer, and a wedding photographer perhaps, a bit more of a diverse cross-section of different types of photographers.
If you could make a film with anybody who would be in it and why, maybe not necessarily a documentary?
Tyrone: I'm never good at questions like this. Werner Herzog?
Mark: Werner Herzog, yeah!
Tyrone: Or an X rated film starring my brother Frank as the love interest of Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Eva Green, and Jennifer Lawrence. Its his birthday this month. He'd like that...
If this is a film about photography and therefore about lies, do you think photography can ever tell the truth?
Tyrone: Maybe a truth about the truth!
Text Lynette Nylander