Tyrone Lebon sees photography as a vehicle for intimacy. Since his early adolescence, cameras have been his way of exercising curiosity.
Why did you start DoBeDo?
“I was always interested in collaborating with other artists, that’s something that has always excited me. Being a photographer can be a lone existence that seems to encourage a type of selfish tunnel vision. I became interested in putting books and exhibitions together as a way of getting out of my own head and I’ve always found it satisfying to collaborate and support other people whose work I was inspired by and believed in.
It was actually back in about 2007 that we made the first online store, the original DoBeDo, which included a photo blog used by a bunch of photographer friends and an online store to buy clothes, books, DVDs and downloadable MP3s. It's funny even those terms feel like an internet-ancient-history now, but at the time I was very lucky to have a talented programmer friend, Istvan Siklossy, who invested a lot of time and love into supporting me and building the site from scratch.
We had a club night and a film club, too. It grew quickly into a real community. The original website eventually died because I didn’t have the time to manage it alone and no resources to get any help. More than fifteen years after its first formation, the dreams that motivated that original DoBeDo are still important to me and will hopefully be realised through the new gallery space in Camberwell."
How do you feel about dividing your time between commercial work and personal / art work?
“The focus of lots of my personal work overlaps with the central forces at play in the Fashion industry: commerce, desire, sexuality, capitalism, greed, beauty, consumption, creativity... so in fact having access to that world provides a lot of material and inspiration for my own work. I feel like both an inside participant and an outside spectator, and, for now, that feels like an interesting position to be in."
Do or Be?
"It used to be DoBeDo. But I feel like these days I’m moving more into a BeDoBe era."