Todd Selby is the talented young photographer behind TheSelby.com a website dedicated to documenting interesting people, their creative spaces and their stuff usually in New York, London and LA. It seems to have hit a critical mass online recently with a mention in the NY Times (here) and all kinds of design blogs (here, here, here and here).
Todd has really found an underserved market in media and he stands to reap the benefits of not only by becoming known as a photographer who shoots creative interiors but also for serving an audience who’s hungry for this type of photography and any collateral he can come up with to go along with it. It’s quite inspiring to see someone forge a new path and then actually begin to see serious traction. I asked Todd a couple questions about it:
How did The Selby get started?
I have been thinking a lot over the past two years about wanting to work on a photo related art project that I could do on my own and distribute on the internet. When I started taking pictures professionally seven years ago I did my first portfolio solely of photos of my friends in their homes combined with a few still-lives of their possessions. It was a natural shift to just take that work and put in on the internet. From there the concept has evolved and I have started adding new elements such as paintings, videos and hand written photo captions and interviews.
It’s completely blown up online and even made an appearance in the The NY Times. Does that translate into assignments for Todd Selby or just calls from people who think they have a cool place?
Yes, I have been getting a lot more calls from magazines, tons of interest from advertisers as well as home and fashion brands contacting me directly. I also get a lot of emails from people around the world showing me their homes and their artwork.
Any thoughts on getting pigeon holed into the guy who shoots those hip interiors?
No thoughts of that until you just mentioned it. Ha, Ha.
How do you know The Cobra Snake? Do you know The Face Hunter? Any thoughts overall on the popularity of this type of documentary photography?
The Cobra Snake is an amazing photographer as well as a marketing and business genius who’s 5 to 10 years ahead of most photographers. He helped me realize the importance of distributing your work as widely as possible and building up content that is really interesting. I think this is something you already know as well Rob. This is a tumultuous time for photographers, and I believe that the people who are going to really succeed are the ones that think outside the box and really forge their own path directly to the consumers of photography. Cut out the middlemen, do it yourself and get it out there. That is Cobra Snake’s DIY ethic which has directly inspired me to do The Selby project.
Is there ever an end to a project like this?
I dont think it will end, it is too much fun.
Do you have anything else you’re working on?
I am working on doing more of my watercolor paintings and editing photos for an upcoming show and book release which will be at Colette in April 09. Also I am producing some extremely limited edition clothing, jewelry and art collaborations for sale on my online store, http://store.theselby.com. Also look out for shows in Tokyo, Los Angeles and New York for 2009.