Tyrone Lebon on how he started, his Q+A cover and his stepdad’s giant new naked Lara Stone tattoo.
What made you want to become a photographer? It was an easy way to get close to, and explore the things I was interested in when I was a shy and awkward teenager.
When/ how did you start working with i-D? Terry Jones commissioned me to shoot portraits of my friends in Edinburgh when I was studying there when I was 19. He got my number from my dad who has worked with i-D since the 80s.
This is your first i-D cover, how did you decide on the shot? Sadly the choice wasn’t mine. I liked another shot in the story where Lara’s head is in a fruit bowl.
How did you and Charlotte come up with the concepts for the shoot? We wanted every image to be different. And I think overall we wanted it to be lighthearted, but still try and make powerful and interesting pictures.
How did you find working with Charlotte? Glorious! Charlotte is deadly serious and passionate about her work, but hugely encouraging and open and fun. There’s a lot of laughing when we shoot together which makes it a pleasure. Her right hand woman Katie Lyall is also a fabulous specimen of a human being.
You photographed your brother, your dad and your stepdad for the shoot, do you photograph them differently to other people? Or direct them differently? To try and make pictures more personally meaningful I like to include my family and friends. There are quite a few in this shoot. I think I approach everyone in the same way. But with people I know I am more aware of what I can get out of them so it’s more straightforward. Whereas when you photograph someone for the first time there are surprises.
Whose idea was the Lara tattoo? I found an image online of a tattoo of Tupac with a unicorn horn and body which made me laugh. I added this to our moodboard of ideas. And somehow it turned into Davebaby getting a tattoo of Lara across his whole chest.. thank you to Ryan Jessiman at Shangrila who did the tattoo. and obviously to Dave. This picture was about celebrity obsession.
What’s your favourite advert? Early Stussy ads were probably the first print ads that caught my eye as a kid. Also sugar puffs cereal commercials on tv with the honeymonster.
If you could create an advert for anything, what would it be for, who would you cast and what would it be like? An advert for beheading featuring a fruitbowl and a model.
Do you think fashion photography should be pretty? Not really it gets boring doesn’t it. but fashion photography is fundamentally about selling aspirations through clothes. and most people aspire to beauty. so it follows that fashion photography should be beautiful to serve its main purpose. but there is a bit of space around the edges to work within fashion and achieve something more than this, and this is where it becomes interesting