Since launching his site, The Selby, in 2008, photographer Todd Selby’s environmental portraits of interesting people in their spaces (paired with handwritten Q&As) have become beloved by creatives across the globe. Six years and two best selling books later, Selby is now aiming his lens at the fashion world with a new volume, Fashionable Selby. In celebration, we decided to turn the tables and give him a questionnaire of our own.
Why did you decide to create Fashionable Selby?
I did a home book, then a food book, so a fashion book seemed to make sense as my next endeavor.
Who was the first person you thought of when you began this project?
Faye and Ansel, who design the windows and fashion shows for many different LVMH brands. I had worked with them on a Louis Vuitton project where we took a train from Paris to Shanghai and knew it would be amazing to feature them in the book while they created new designs for the Louis Vuitton windows.
How has your work changed since you published your first book in 2010?
The photos have become crazier, more colorful, and more lively.
How do you decide which subjects to shoot?
For the book, I wanted to highlight the most interesting fashion people all over the world and people who even hard-core fashionistas had never seen or heard of. For subjects that people have seen photographed before, I tried to highlight a different side. For example, by shooting Isabel Marant, I learned that she tries on all her samples herself instead of using a fit model.
What are some of your favorite memories from the Fashionable Selby shoots?
For Iris Van Herpen, whose focus is 3-D printed clothing, I had this preconceived notion that the basis of what she does is all digital and technology, but as I got to know her and see her work, I realized it's really more about the materials she uses than technology. In a similar way, molecular gastronomy is not just about smoke and dry ice.
What are your 6 favorite photo, art, or design books of all time?
1. Le Corbusier Le Grand
2. Less and More The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams
3. Carl Aubock: The Workshop
4. The Last Whole Earth Catalog
5. Taco Bell Drawing Club by Jason Polan
6. Les Diners de Gala by Salvador Dali
What do you love most about photographing people's spaces?
It's just interesting to go to people's environments and learn about them. This is always so much fun for me!
What's next for you?
I have partnered with eBay to auction off paintings I created of things I need and love. The money raised will go to the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, CA, which serves adult artists with developmental, mental and physical disabilities, providing a professional studio environment for artistic development, gallery exhibition and representation and a social atmosphere among peers. The auction starts March 18th.
“Fashionable Selby” by Todd Selby, $35, barnesandnoble.com.