Miranda Kerr and The Selby Get Creative with Vogue
Miranda Kerr suddenly has a whole lot more to do – and that’s saying a lot. She just gave birth to her second child, a son named Hart, and that's on top of being a business owner, an international model, and a familiar face on TV. She hasn’t slowed down a step. Right before giving birth to her newborn son, she teamed up with Todd Selby on a fashion film for Vogue that explores Kerr’s pregnant life in ways that might even seem silly. “We had a lot of fun with it and made it her made it a bit of a character,” says Todd. “She is secretly eating hamburgers out of a drawer and has a miniature wooly mammoth that she had genetically engineered to be her pet. And she has insane sailboat races in her pool. So, it’s kind of like trying to make it fun and do something fun with it.”
The film was created alongside still assets, and Todd even turned some of the moments into moving GIFs. Much of Kerr’s life is spent in front of the camera, so she was an engaged collaborator. But she’s also an image maker. So Todd, Vogue, Kerr, and the whole team planned out as much as they could to make sure everything looked perfect. And once all the pieces were in place: they cut loose. “Normally I’m more of like a real-life kind of guy, but this one was a more constructed thing,” Todd says. “But then also see some of it is also impromptu because she’s really fun. She started dropping rhymes on the mic with her Plexiglas piano and doing all the dance moves with her yoga and so, it’s some freestyle.” Since they all knew they’d get exactly what they needed out of the day, they were able to have a lot of fun with the game of it.
Throughout the shoot, you’ll find a backyard grill covered in fruit and the moments that Todd teased like hidden hamburgers and yoga-inspired dance moves - many featuring cameos by Todd's watercolor illustrations. It’s all cheeky and chill. But don’t let it fool you: even as she approached her due date, Kerr is as busy as ever. “She’s running her own company, busting a move, having conference calls, she’s got her own products and she’s still appearing in all these magazines and doing all these editorials,” Todd explains. “We had fun with it, made it the opposite of really what’s kind of going on… It’s really cool that she was down for all this stuff. I’ve got to give her credit, she was down for all my whacky ideas.” On the eve of motherhood, Kerr took the time to create with Todd and Vogue, always making the world just a little more beautiful. Please help us in congratulating Miranda and her family for their new addition.
The Selby's Short Film 'Redmond Hand Private Dick' Twists and Turns
A missing cactus. A floating baby. A reappearing raccoon. Todd Selby's new short film, ‘Redmond Hand Private Dick’ has all that plus a snitch in drag. We all know Todd's work well, everything from immersive watercolor dreamscapes to arresting photographs to documentary portraits, but this leap into narrative is something different for Todd. And for good reason. “With my photography I consider myself a creative documentarian. So I’m documenting things that exist in the world at the same time I’m trying to do it in a way that’s creative as possible,” Todd explains. “With this scripted piece it was an opportunity to just totally be creative. And not have it need to have any documentarian roots. So that was a fun thing for me.” All of Todd’s talents are on display: photography, motion, illustration, animation. It all comes together into one piece. And it’s completely unexpected thanks to a script penned by his friend Jason Kreher.
Todd and Kreher’s relationship isn't random. A few years ago Todd accepted an invitation to essentially intern at Weiden+Kennedy for a week, hopping from project to project and tethered to Kreher for most of it. “He’s just probably one of the funniest people that I’ve ever met,” says Todd. “So when I started thinking about this trying to do a scripted project I immediately thought of him. I just thought he’s brought such a unique sense of humor and creativity. That’s another fun part about the film: it’s so collaborative.” Kreher worked closely with Todd to create a script that was supremely original but also inspired by stories and experiences they had. Once everything blended together, the result was a twisting, turning gumshoe mystery that tracks everywhere from Echo Park to Selbywood.
If you can follow the twists and turns through ‘Redmond Hand Private Dick,’ as audiences followed through the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival, the MiFo LGBT Film Festival, the Slamdance Film Festival, the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, Outfest, and the LA Film Festival, you’ll be surprised and tickled at every moment. That’s entirely on purpose. “I’m hoping the film is entertaining and different and surprising,” Todd says. “Working with Jason, we both tried to be different fun and surprising. That was what we were trying to do.”
For more information on the film check out this article from AdWeek, and don’t miss the film below!
Todd Selby Goes a Different Route with Volvo
Automobiles are incredible feats of engineering. Hundreds of designers, mechanics, and engineers come together to create a single car, a beautiful piece of work that becomes a massive investment for the driver. And that investment is well repaid – cars offer mobility and a form of freedom that no other vehicle can. While most of the advertising world commits to touting the results of the science and design behind cars, this season Volvo had a different idea. They wanted to center the story on who drives their cars and they wanted Todd Selby to help them execute it. “It’s more about finding a person who reflects a certain lifestyle,” explains Todd. “I think that was really smart of Volvo to be open to that.” Todd found Derek Mattison, a designer and entrepreneur whose lifestyle matches Volvo’s new V90 Cross Country, to and visited his space and his life to show off that shared life aesthetic.
By putting a focus on the lifestyle, Todd and Volvo are able to show a deeper understand of what cars do and what they can represent. It’s about how we choose to spend our time and what we choose to surround ourselves with. “Derek is really successful and has an amazing design sense and incredible home and lifestyle and stays active,” explains Todd. “It’s very important with the Volvo Cross Country to tie in with an active lifestyle. That’s really interesting. It’s not just shooting product, it’s also about these associations and people. People want to see other people and learn about people so it was smart of Volvo to go that route.” On their own cars can seem almost sterile – they are machines after all. But by exploring how they fit into a life we can understand how they can fit into our lives. It’s a holistic message. And it’s also what Todd likes to spend his time photographing:
“I’m always looking for people with a point of view in terms of how they have chosen to live their life but also how they’ve done their space and how they choose to present themselves,” explains Todd. “There’s a kind of documentarism. That’s what I’m looking to train my lens on. So I really love that [Mattison] has that unique perspective and style that you see across everything he does.”
The Selby Laces Up with Buscemi
If you want to get a piece of The Selby you can head over Todd’s blog, grab one of his books, a stack of stickers, walk through the Daelim Museum, or catch any number of his commercial projects on billboards and displays when they pop up. But if you want to take the next step, literally, you can lace up his latest collaboration. He teamed up with luxury sneaker brand Buscemi on a pair of hyper exclusive kicks that feature his work pressed in gold onto the highest quality Italian calf leather.
To create the pattern for the 100mm sneakers he looked at the world around him and drew from everything – whatever inspired him went into these shoes. “I decided I would do some watercolor paintings of all the super random things that inspire me, lobsters, cats, Chinese take out, manhole covers, fire hydrants, you know… the good stuff,” says Todd. “My wife Danielle Sherman came up with the idea to print white onto the finest shiny gold leather which apparently makes the shoes pop more.” Todd’s wife is right: they do pop. They’re bright and shiny and a very clean choice for any day of the week.
Not only did Todd’s illustrations make it to the upper of the sneaker, but they were also imprinted into the famous lock that Buscemi sneakers are known for. The hardware reflects the leather: it’s glistening gold.
The shoes are available now in very limited quantities for $1,200. If that price tag is a little higher than you’re used to spending take heart that it’s for a good cause. $100 of each Buscemi x The Selby pair sold goes to Creative Growth, a charity that supports people with disabilities creating art. You get to pay it forward and rock a beautiful new pair of sneakers.
Editorial photography of the courtesy of cobrasnake.
Enter The Selby In Seoul, South Korea
Artists give us the opportunity to see things anew, and understand the world in ways we didn’t before. We almost always only see the results of an artist’s exploration and expression and experience their creations, but we are rarely invited into the artist’s world. But some do. Few artists have been as open as Todd Selby who is always creating new work and endlessly inviting his audiences into his process. If you want to find Todd it’s as easy as signing on to Instagram or Todd’s wildly successful blog, but this summer and fall you can get even closer by stepping directly into his mind. Or at least a form of it. Right now the Daelim Museum in Seoul is showing ‘The Selby House,’ a fully immersive experience that exhibits a dizzying range of Todd’s work and includes a representation of his creative home. “From the beginning of my personal work I’ve always put it out there on the internet, and blogging and doing social media,” explains Todd. “One of the really cool things about that is that your work can just travel on its own and end up in all sorts of different places really easily.” Now his work has ended up all the way in South Korea where his fans are hungry. And he’s filled the entire museum.
This isn’t a simple gallery show by any means. Todd was asked to stock the entire museum, creating work for every floor, from the first to the attic, and even for the front of the building (plus a sculpture garden behind the museum!). “The scale of it is really enormous,” says Todd. “I’ve done gallery shows before but to have a whole museum to fill… There’s a whole sculpture garden, and we did all the exteriors of the museum and illustrated those. So the sheer scale of it has been really a lot. I didn’t want to just have the show and show old work, I wanted to make a whole new body of work so having a year to get together all that work has been pretty, pretty nuts.” There’s an entire gift shop that’s filled almost entirely with newly designed merch. There are floors dedicated to the photography from his books, photos surrounded by resin collage frames, and tons of his watercolors. There’s an imagined bedroom of his, and a living room where you can sit and guess what it’s like to watch TV surrounded by the mind of Todd Selby. And you can get even more intimate stepping into a dream of Todd’s on the top floor in ‘The Jungle Room.’ It started as a dream with nightmarish origins – depending on how strong your stomach is.
‘The Jungle Room’ started from a rather exciting experience from when he was younger that left enough of an impression on him that it followed him into his sleeping hours. “My family went to Papua New Guinea and my dad really wanted to meet cannibals which is a true story! When I was a kid we went and tried to find this cannibal tribe. So this is based on a dream that I had when we were on the way to find the cannibals,” says Todd. “So it’s kind of based in reality and my life experience but then it’s also based in fantasy, this dream world, so it’s playing around with those ideas.” The result is playful, exploding with color, and has more than one adorable animal hanging from the ceiling.
Todd has always let us into his process and shown us his work, but the show at Daelim Museum takes it to a whole new level. Actually, a bunch of levels, one for every floor of this very Selby show.
Check out The Selby House at the Daelim Museum in Seoul, South Korea through October 29.
Todd Selby Brings it All Together for New York Life
Todd Selby is known for creating portraits that are full of energy and full of life. They’re rarely staged, if ever, and offer a window in the lives of the people he photographs, and his clients love him for it. They help to bring an authentic connection between their product and the subject, and Todd has found some incredible partnerships to help facilitate this work. But his newest partner was looking for something a little different. New York Life, the insurance giant, wanted something with structure, and they wanted a lot of it. They asked Todd to not only create their latest campaign but also construct an entire image library for them. It was so no small feat. “It was pretty gargantuan,” says Todd. “The idea was people in their natural environments but then kind of them coming together for a portrait, or the moment before the portrait. We used new talent for almost every shot and new situations and new families.” It was hundreds of talent in dozens and dozens of set ups, one right after another. And it was awesome.
To strike the right tone, Todd’s team took to the street and recruited subjects from real life. “Street casting” has the benefit of discovering how subjects interact right from the beginning, but also helps save time and energy when on set: real families and friends already have a solid rapport. “We used real families and extended families and lots of real friends. So we tried to have that camaraderie rather than constructing everything,” Todd explains “We had so little time, so for something this big, sometimes 18 to 19 scenarios in a day, we had to have that instant connection with people. Having that comfort that’s the most important.” Going to such a real place with their subjects meant that Todd was able to maximize his time during shooting which was crucial, especially considering how much work there was to do.
Faced with the incredible volume of assets Todd was expected to produce, he dove right in. Thanks to his own work ethic and the people he surrounds himself with, he and his team were able to complete the project on target and with aplomb. “I really loved it. I like being productive. It was really a lot on the production,” says Todd. “I have a great producer, Elle Sullivan Wilson, she’s my long time producer and she had a big challenge in terms of putting all the pieces together so that everyone was ready. It was quite a big production. We did it.”
Todd Selby and eBay Reject Perfection
‘Perfect’ means different things to different people. To be perfect is to be totally free of flaws, but the observer must decide what a flaw is to make the definition work. A flaw to one person might be a marker of brilliance to another, creating as many definitions of ‘perfect’ as there are people in this world. But what if the subjective nature of the word ‘perfect’ is actually devoid of meaning? What if “perfect” doesn’t mean anything? This spring eBay sought to find the answer to that question in their latest campaign and asked Todd Selby to help them in their investigation. It turns out that Todd is exactly the kind of person you want on your team to prove that ‘perfect’ doesn’t really exist: it’s not really a part of his vocabulary. “Personally I’ve never really been concerned with perfect, or interested in perfect,” Todd says. “I think only one time someone accused me of being a perfectionist. It was some random person who obviously didn’t know me very well,” he says with a laugh.
The six women featured in the campaign, that includes a video, are a collection of ladies who use eBay to help express themselves through the special finds they discover on the site. Having access to the things that stimulate them through eBay has helped shape their point of views and strengthen the idea of creating their own version of ‘perfection,’ whatever that looks like. And good for them! “None of them said that perfect exists and it’s something that we can try to get to,” Todd says. “Perfection is a painful thing. When I see perfectionists, I don’t envy them. I think it’s better to express yourself and know when it’s right, the right amount of wrong.” At the very least we could all take their example and create a goal for ourselves that is true to who we are and how we see the world, rather than relying on the expectations of an outside construction of ‘perfection.’
The intimate, personal portraits in this campaign are exactly the kinds of photographs that Todd likes to create. Campaigns like this offer him an experience that inspires him, learning about his subjects and how they come into contact with the world. “It was a great group of women and it was great to talk to them and really I think all of them had really interesting things to say,” says Todd. “I always love visiting people and entering their worlds. It was nice.” When we reject the idea of 'perfection' it suddenly means that we have to understand everyone's experience as their own, with their own standards and unique genius. It is inside that diversity that we find what's interesting about meeting other people, and Todd is lucky enough that he gets to do it every day.
The Selby Dives Deep with Honda
When Todd Selby was approached by Honda to shoot their latest campaign "Greatness is Within Reach" for this year’s Civic it was the realization of a long time goal of his. “It’s always been my dream to do the TV commercial and also do the stills,” Todd says. “This was really cool because we actually were taking pictures and I was doing the films and it was really fluid. And they made a print campaign out of it. So it was pretty cool to have that whole integrated thing that everyone’s been talking about a long time.” Achieving multiple asset streams is the goal of any campaign, to engage as many people in as many different advertising spaces at the same time. But to do that successfully, the stories that these pieces tell have to be captivating. Todd ended up traveling from New York to Texas to Chicago to capture three different people for the campaign.
Rick Lopez, a Texas chef, Karina Gonzalez, a ballerina with the Houston Ballet, and Jesse Diaz of Dark Matter Coffee in Chicago are all creators in their own rights, expressing themselves through very different mediums. Todd met up with each of them in their natural habitats, learning about them and their processes so he could bring them to life through these images. The range of experience and expression was crucial to the campaign, offering a message of inclusion. After all, brands serve people and commercial advertisement can be used to represent those people. Todd’s campaign does just that, delivering the experience of these three people as a way to understand how Honda can benefit their customers’ lives.
Honda’s customer base is extraordinarily diverse and it was important to both the brand and Todd that they embody those different faces and different experiences. “It was nice that we were able to represent so many different kinds of people who were really inspirational and doing great things, but so different from each other,” Todd says. “And with films you get to learn so much more about them and it adds more dimensions to their story; to actually see and hear them talk, it’s just more engaging to get to see everything.” Todd has made a habit of photographing creatives in their natural habitats, but he reserves the production of video for when he has the opportunity to really dive deep into the stories of the people that he meets. For Honda it was crucial to understand that these are real people whose lives and careers are being made better through interaction with this brand. It’s about creating a real, honest representation of their stories and Todd is there to help tell them.
Todd Selby Opens Up Etsy's Creative Community
Etsy is more than a website to buy handmade products and vintage finds. It's a marketplace that inspires artists and has built the foundation for a creative community that encourages each other. Todd Selby fits squarely within that community. As a creative person who is always searching his world for the next coolest inspiration, he's a very active user of Etsy. "I’ve been a long time Etsy fan and Etsy buyer because I love colorful and handmade stuff, and craftsmanship and vintage things. And that’s what Etsy is all about,” Todd says. “It’s like an endless rabbit hole of kookie, crazy, interesting things on there." So when they invited him to shoot their latest campaign it was a natural fit.
Todd linked up with a handful of real Etsy buyers and sellers, meeting them in their own spaces in and around London to create a series of environmental portraits that would hit the heart of what Etsy is about. He dug deep into thier homes, their shops, and their workshops, accessing the root of their creativity. "It was a perfect fit,” Todd says. “We shot the colorful characters of people who sell stuff through Etsy but also people who collect things through Etsy. And a lot of those people do both. It was a fun mix.” Todd met a handful of people on the shoot and couldn't pick just one or two who were the most remarkable to him. The whole community ended up making an impression. “You get a lot of different type of people, even from the small selection we shot. It was pretty neat." Whether it's sharing a cup of tea with a bearded man in a dress, or helping to pack up some fuzzy keyrings, it was more than just a photographic experience.
Part of what makes Todd's aesthetic unique is that he allows himself to be inspired by what he's shooting and in turn create watercolor illustrations that he incorporates into the final imagery. Whether it's a bear in briefs or a massive tarantula, he uses whatever makes an impression on him. "I like doing illustrations and animations so I’m always looking for little details that I can incorporate into the film," explains Todd. "So there’s a great photo of the spider on the wall and then I try to paint it too."
Check out the resulting short film that Todd created for Etsy below.
Happy Holidays: 2015 in Review
As we come together with loved ones and friends to close the year, we’d like to take this time to reflect on some of our favorite moments from the last year. Included here is a list of some of our favorite stories we’ve had the pleasure to share with our community and friends. This year our artists helped usher in the next generation of Star Wars stars, discovered what bacteria lurk in NYC’s subways, sent hundreds of mean postcards to adoring fans, and put their own stamp on the 2016 Presidential campaign.
Our artists have done amazing things, so let’s take some time to remember some of the best stories from 2015 before turning our focus to the New Year.
We hope you have Wonderful Holidays, and a Happy New Year.
Weeks before Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters, Marco Grob photographed the cast of the highly anticipated movie for Time Magazine. Not only did he get to photograph the human stars, he also got to spend time with the famous R2-D2 and meet the newest favorite: BB-8.
Riding the New York City subway can be a precarious situation, not because of the unpredictable riders but because of what lurks on the handrails. Craig Ward wanted to see what exactly he has holding onto every day and the answers were both beautiful and revolting.
Sawdust and Nike Reach New Heights
One project with international powerhouse Nike is celebration enough, but when Sawdust teamed up with the athletic juggernaut for three bespoke typefaces it was an honor. Not only were they creating these solutions for Nike, but they'd be paired with LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant, three of the most powerful names in basketball. What they created turly elevated the game.
This year Joey L joined Annie Leibovitz, Erwin Olaf, and David LaChapelle as a photographer for Lavazza's annual calendar. With the theme “From Father to Son,” Joey L examined how the tradition of sustainable farming is passed on from generation to generation, and how food gets to our tables from around the world.
People's Sexiest Man Alive is always a hotly watched and eagerly awaited issue, and frequently their most popular. When Marc Hom got the call to photograph their non-traditional choice this year, David Beckham, it was an honor and a thrill. And on the day of the shoot, Beckham didn't disappoint.
For more than a decade Stephen Wilkes has been pursuing his ongoing personal project of condensing an entire day into a single photograph. This year, Stephen showed off some of his favorite shots at the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, a great way to look back on all the work he's done, and look forward to what's still to come.
Over the course of months with locations stretching from The Costume Institute to the Louvre's vault, and even the private archive of Yves Saint Laurent, Platon captured the epic vastness of the Met's latest blockbuster. "China: Through the Looking Glass" examines how China's history has impacted the rest of the world through design influence, and Platon was able to photograph every step along the way.
Mr. Bingo's ongoing series "Hate Mail" pits the artist against those who pay for the pleasure of being berated by him through the post. Enough fans have gotten their kicks this way that he turned them all into a book that catalyzed an enormously successful Kickstarter. Books are available for purchase now!
Living a life in the limelight isn't always easy, so when We Are The Rhoads teamed up with Taylor Swift for their latest Keds campaign, they immediately found common ground. By creating a safe space the mega celebrity was able to focus on the moments with Sarah and Chris, resulting in images that are effortlessly Taylor.
Style is communication and a stylist has the power to shape how their subject communicates to the world. For Uzo Aduba's cover of As If Magazine, Stacey Jones dove into feminine luxury, offering the Emmy Award winning actress the opportunity to step away from the orange jumpsuits that her fans so often see her in.
Paris is a hotbed of fashion and style, making it a dream destination for many and attracting artists from all over the world. Tom Corbett is no different. On his latest assignment for Somerset he really sank his teeth into the city, taking advantage of every block and street corner, capturing the beauty of the city and the ease of its powerful energy.
It's hard to describe Donald Trump's political rise, so sometimes the best option is to not even try. When The New York Times Magazine tasked Stanley Chow and Jamie Chung with an image that spoke to the story they got right to work on something that felt honest but was also a lot of fun.
When Marcus Bleasdale began his work as a photojournalist it was to make a difference, but an artist can never be sure if their hopes are going to come to fruition. Marcus' has. His work with Human Rights Watch has lead to changes in law, and even helped end a war. Their joint gallery show, "Impact," proved it.
Chipotle has seen better days, but before their troubles they made a very solid decision when they asked Harriet Russell, Sarah J. Coleman, Adam Hayes, and Dave Homer to create illustrations for their bags and cups. Each illustrator was paired up with a writer whose pieces were to serve as the inspiration, and the results are as delicious as you can imagine.
Ken Fulk is a master at interior design, and Douglas Friedman is a master at photographing interiors. When the two came together in a show-stopping shoot of Elle Decor, Fulk's vision leapt off the page thanks to Douglas' unique ability to translate space into flawless photographic composition.
Bernie Sanders represents one of the most interesting political stories this season, and like any political character his whole persona is hard to distill into a single image (even a photograph!). Ryan McAmis took his time, and dug deeply into his bag of tricks, creating a portrait for the cover of National Journal that is as honest a representation as we've ever seen.
It's not every day that passion projects turn directly into corporate campaigns, but when UPS saw Brian Doben's "At Work" series they knew they needed it for themselves. Brian extended the project, meeting with read UPS customers that happened to run their own small businesses, to see what it's really like to work with a company that caters to their needs.
Cinemagraphs are becoming more and more popular, but Chloe Aftel was there since day one. In fact, she's sort of become a go-to photographer to create these captive moments that she finds particular expressive because of their ability to inject more emotion and more story.
Sometimes the best way to talk about serious issues is with a good laugh, so when Todd Selby linked up with Evolve on a series of gun safety PSA they imagined what other things kids get into. Whether it's playing with condoms like balloons, or tampons like Wolverine's claws: the kids will get into anything and, most of the time, it can be hilarious.
Few artists are as closely watched as Banksy whose work is discussed and devoured the world over, so when James Joyce got the call to be included in Banksy's latest installation it was a no-brainer. James' contributions ended up including the cover of Dismaland's catalogue, a piece that has now been distributed the world over and marked as a coveted accomplishment for any creative CV.
We cannot pretend we know what the future will hold, but if we had to bet we'd bet on Roof Studios' vision. They were tasked with glimpsing ahead for a spot with Toshiba that envisions how our relationship with technology will continue to deepen and grow, and shows us what that will look like.
Ice Skating GIF by Nomoco.
Todd Selby Breaks the Fourth Wall with Donald Robertson for Vanity Fair
When Todd Selby got the call to photograph famed artist and Instagrammer Donald Robertson for Vanity Fair, he was already super familiar with the man. In fact, they’ve been following each other on social media for a while, engaging the same creative spaces with different flairs. “I follow him on Instagram and he’s got a really nice illustration style,” Todd says. “I always look for them every day and see their adventures pop up in my Instagram feed. So when Vanity Fair called and asked me to do portraits of them in their house in Los Angeles I was psyched.” Todd found his way to the Instagram ready home and found an environment that was exactly how it seemed online.
Todd’s ability to meld into the lives of the people he photographs pairs perfectly with how Robertson uses social media to express his point of view. The mixture of art, candid family imagery, and behind the scenes process photography that Robertson brings to his Instagram feeds is similar to the way Todd likes to dig into the work that his subjects do. This presentation gives a rounded out picture of a life and artist that makes them immediately understandable and uniquely accessible. “I like that it’s a mixture of his illustration work and his life and everything kind of runs together,” Todd explains. “And everything’s kind of impromptu and feels improvised and unplanned. In many ways he feels like an Andy Warhol character. He’s just kind of making art with a real lack of pretension to everything, which I think is really refreshing and fun.”
The highlight for Todd was hanging out with Robertson’s two young sons, Runty and Henry. The two boys feature prominently on Robertson’s Instagram but it’s a totally different experience interacting with the kids in real life. “They’re just so cute and it was fun because I got to hang out, I did some babysitting duty there,” says Todd. “I was just kind of on my own with them and they were like, ‘Who is this guy?’ But then I think we’re cool now, me and the twins. Which is great.” With Runty and Henry becoming so famous on their father’s Instagram, it’s only a matter of time before they find their own success, something that Todd is acutely aware of. “Maybe they’ll be interns one day,” he muses. “Or maybe I’ll be their intern one day!”
The Nature of Collaboration with Todd Selby
Collaborations, like the one between Dutch stroller company Bugaboo and Diesel Industries, are about ideas coming together to create something larger and more inclusive. Each brings their own elements, building off the other, to create something they couldn’t create alone. When Todd Selby was commissioned to do a lifestyle shoot showing the Bugagboo x Diesel collaborative project in context, he teamed up with his own friends Jeff Halmos and Lisa Mayock, along with their son Lucien and their pug Roscoe.
Todd has known Jeff and Lisa for years and those built-in relationships made the shoot not only easier, but richer. “I always try to make my subjects really comfortable but in the case that they’ve actually known me for years, that’s totally chill because it’s more like me hanging out with them,” says Todd. That certainly doesn’t happen most of the time, but, as Todd says, “It’s cool when that can be the case.”
The whole shoot took place in and around Jeff and Lisa’s new apartment in Brooklyn, allowing the images to be filled with authenticity. Since these are actual parents using the actual product in their actual home, we get a glimpse at how easily it fits into real lives. Even though Todd and the family go way back, it was his first time visiting their new spot. “It’s a brownstone and they have tricked it out,” Todd says. “They have a really funny sense of humor. They like graphic, cool things and some nice collections of colorful objects. So it was great.” Todd has always related to bold and graphic design, and that’s exactly how Jeff and Lisa have filled their home.
The highlight of the shoot was a series of images from when Lucien and Roscoe shared an impromptu meal on Lucien’s highchair. Initially they set up the shot just to have Lucien eating his own food, but Roscoe had another idea. “Lucien was eating and then Roscoe just went for it,” says Todd. “And I just love that Lucien loved it. It was his buddy and they were chowing down together and it was a really cute, funny moment.” When collaborations truly work, each collaborator adds their own spin to the project, offering elements and surprises to benefit the whole project. The relationships that Todd had built with this family allowed for images that were more intimate and personal, with a handful of surprises.
Also check out some images from Todd's last shoot with Bugaboo featuring Sean MacPherson and Rachelle Hruska MacPherson, founder of Guest of a Guest and their children Maxwell and Dashiell, photographed in in their home and around the West Village.
Todd Selby Lets the Kids Run Free - Safely
Kids say the darndest things. And they do the darndest things too. Kids have a way of getting their hands on whatever it is you’re trying to hide, whether it’s a box of cookies, a box of tampons, or the family firearm. Their curious nature is inherent, and to make sure they don’t meet the same fate as the curious cat, we have to protect them as best we can. Todd Selby teamed up with Evolve on a series of PSAs that brought that message home with as much hilarity and good will as they could.
Leading with the copy “If they find it, they’ll play with it,” Todd and Evolve riffed on the idea that kids will find a way to play with whatever’s in arm’s reach. Juxtaposing the innocent nature of children and the inappropriate things they can find, the set-ups revealed the potential comedy of these situations. “It was funny, the kids just took the stuff and went on their own which was funny because they don’t have the same connotation as we do with certain things,” explains Todd. His favorite moment was when one of the kids took a pair of fuzzy handcuffs and attached them to the neck of a dinosaur as a leash. “We were just laughing so much,” Todd says. “It was hard to keep it serious. Just trying not to lose it laughing.”
The serious nature of the PSAs get a welcome counter from the energy that the kids brought to it. To ensure that the photos communicated authentic lightness, Todd gave them a lot of room to actually play. “We set up the scenarios generally, and then the kids got in there and did their thing which was really fun,” explains Todd. Then he gave them plenty of time to explore and enjoy themselves, finding games with the objects, and photographing the discoveries as they made them. Of course, in this closed environment, with direction and chosen items, the kids were totally safe. But the photos highlight the larger issue of familial safety at the heart of the campaign. If a young boy can do a very good Wolverine impression with a box of tampons, finding a firearm could have results that aren’t funny at all. The message is communicated effectively through disarming humor, thanks to the kids' innocence, which is exactly what they're trying to protect.
Todd Selby's "Bright Old Things"
“No old person ever thinks of themselves as old. Old is somebody else,” says William Forbes Hamilton, the painter, in the central spread of The Selby’s “Bright Old Things.” The zine is a collection of some of his favorite shots from a project of the same name that Selfridges commissioned from him. The images and paintings are a collection of his foray into the world of artists, designers, and creators who have reached a part of their life where they’ve moved on from the petty pushes and pulls of modern culture. These are folks that have let go of the small stuff, and are ready to live in their passions. “They have been around and nine times out of ten don’t give a rat’s ass about what anyone thinks of them,” Todd says introducing his zine. The wisdom that comes out of that mindset is what permeates the entire project.
Each page of the publication brings us into the world of a different creator, and each of their worlds are richly unique. Whether it’s the gold and red living room of Sue Kreitzman, walled by dozens of paintings (including few of her own image), or rich materials and history of Nick Wooster’s foyer whose tone plays off his own timeless style, we’re being let into their personal world. But what’s most surprising is that these worlds are something of a new discovery. “The whole idea behind the project was that the people they chose had gone through a transformation where they did something totally new than the first part of their life,” says Todd, explaining how the subjects were chosen. Each of them had a storied past that they left behind for a new creative chapter. That’s the brightness we get to see. “It was about making a creative leap,” Todd says.
When it comes to adding his signature watercolor illustrations, Todd uses a combination of theme and instinct. “I tried to paint things that were “Bright Old Things” like a brontosaurus, or a Faberge egg,” he says. “But then I also just freestyled and threw a bunch of stuff in there. So it’s colorful, funny. I like to kind of have a theme but I also like to freestyle and just have fun with it.” Where a monocle polar bear fits thematically with a bespeckled William Forbes Hamilton, the lamb sitting next to Bruno Wizard is there for a little bit of fun.
What we see when we flip through The Selby’s zine is a veritable line up of lives we could only hope to emulate. As Todd says in his introduction, “If we are lucky we will all be cool old people one day.” Here’s to all of us living long lives and becoming Bright, Old Things.
Get a Taste of Dom PÃ©rignon from Todd Selby's Signature Photography and Watercolors
A cursory glance at Todd Selby’s book, Edible Selby, is almost overwhelming in its breadth of scope. Todd travelled all over the world taking pictures and putting his impressions down in watercolor. From Mission Chinese Food, to Noma, to Mast Brother’s Chocolate, Todd has taken a bite out of world cuisine. But, in the typical Selby fashion, Edible Selby offers a super accessible take on some of the most difficult reservations in the world. The average reader cannot travel to Denmark and pow-wow with René Redzepi over live shrimp in a brown butter emulsion, or flowers with a sea buckthorn vinaigrette. Todd’s experiential photography brings the viewer in on the pleasure of the moment, only lacking the ability to eat the beautifully composed dishes.
It was only natural for Dom Pérignon to tap Todd to document their “Creative Combustion” Project built around Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2003. The event was so private, but so expertly constructed, it needed a wider audience, so Todd was their guy.
The Creative Combustion project took nine of the most celebrated international chefs and tasked them with building dishes inspired by Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2003. What resulted were dishes that pushed the boundaries of innovation and creativity and Todd was on hand to bring us all along with him. He photographed the chefs through the entire process of considering their ingredients, preparing the dishes, to serving and enjoying their completed work. It was a comprehensive procedural look, but he also added something a little deeper.
Documentary photographs can’t always bring a representation of a full experience. Documentation is limited by access, both physical and personal. But creative representations can give a fuller picture, and Todd Selby offered a whole other level of the experience with his watercolors. Providing clean portraits of each of the participating chefs, Todd represented them in a way that’s more accessible to those of us that didn’t have the pleasure of attending. Todd’s effortless style extended to ingredients and dishes, giving us a look at lobsters, rabbits, and oysters. He breaks the objects down like the chefs do, separating them in to the essential parts so we can consume them in the most pleasurable way.
These pleasing consumables were such a triumph that Dom Pérignon even asked him to paint their label in his freehand style, bringing a personal flair to the representation of one of the most widely recognizable brands in the world.
As Bernstein & Andriulli now represents Todd Selby for Illustration, we encourage you to check out his portfolio.
PC Financial's 'Just Good Coverage' by Todd Selby
PC Financial depicted its range of services with spirited ads by Todd Selby. "It was a bit of a different vibe for me, since I normally shoot reportage-style for things like [my recent book] 'Fashionable Selby,' " he explained. "This was storyboarded out with a recurring color concept and much more constructed, which was really interesting. I enjoyed collaborating with the entire creative team … and it's always fun when the art direction takes me down a path I wouldn't ordinarily choose."
Selby focused on capturing the right, emotion-filled moment for each tagline. "I set up everything and I shot a lot while making the people feel comfortable, which is important to me," he said. The final campaign, called "That's Just Good Coverage," contains just good images.
Todd Selby Releases Quartet of 'Fashionable Selby' Films
Todd Selby released a foursome of films to accompany the launch of "Fashionable Selby," his new book. "There were a handful of people I shot for 'Fashionable Selby' who I thought would make great short movies," he said, noting he captured natural-dye whiz Audrey Louis Reynolds in Williamsburg before returning to Japan with producer Junsuke Yamasaki for the rest: writtenafterwards designer Yoshikazu Yamagata, Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts grad Yuima Nakazato, and Yujiro Komatsu of Blackmeans Leather.
"I had it all planned out," Selby remarked, "I knew a lot about the subjects, I had done research and photographed them, so I knew what I wanted to capture in motion. For example, I knew the Blackmeans guys have punk bands rehearse in their space, so I made sure there was a great band practicing on the day of the shoot." Selby's favorite film is writtenafterwards "because Yoshikazu Yamagata did the outfit that appeared on the book's cover and he talks directly about creativity. I like his story a lot."
Todd Selby Releases Third Book, 'Fashionable Selby'
This week sees the release of "Fashionable Selby," the followup to "The Selby is in Your Place" (2010) and "Edible Selby" (2012). "When I was thinking about my next book, I realized the fashion world naturally attracts the type of colorful people that interest me, so I decided to pursue that," Todd Selby explained. "I worked on it for three years and put in a lot of research and traveling, focusing on the fashion capitals: Paris, London, Tokyo, and New York," though he also made it to more unexpected locales, like Nashville. "Ninety percent of the images have never been seen before – they're not on any website or in any magazine."
The 348-page volume includes photographs of industry names like Dries Van Noten; natural-dye expert Audrey Reynolds who creates her handmade hues in Red Hook, Brooklyn; and Virginia Bates, the 'Clockwork Orange' actress with a (now-shuttered) "retail space unlike anything I've ever seen," Selby remarked. The cover features Japanese brand writtenafterwards. Yoshikazu Yamagata "is a great designer and has such a unique, insane understanding of fashion, which is why I selected that image for the cover," the photographer said, "but they're all standouts. I picked them specifically for this project ... it's a book of my favorites, really."
Copies of "Fashionable Selby" are available on BarnesandNoble.com.
Todd Selby Traverses the World for Airbnb x The Selby
Airbnb sent Todd Selby on a five-city tour to photograph the group's travel rentals, The Selby-style. "I wanted to work with Airbnb for a while – it's a service that I use and it hinges on people and their spaces, so the project seemed to be a natural match," explained Selby. "I had been discussing different ideas with the team and an around-the-world concept came up ... also, they had recently moved into a new office and wanted art for the gallery space inside, so we embarked on the shoot – comprising photos, illustrations, and interviews – with that in mind, as well as the possibility of featuring it on my website."
He spent 48 hours in London, Paris, Tokyo, Sydney, and L.A. documenting his hosts' daily activities, homes, and neighborhoods. "I stayed in a water tower in London's Kensal Town with a woman named Florence Dickson," he recalled. "It was next to her little bakery, Tart, and we went to the Westminster Flower Show and spent a lot of time in the West End." Other highlights from his trip included John and LP's Harajuku apartment containing countless tiny paintings mounted on plywood and crashing with Scott Brundson's family in Marrickville, a Sydney suburb, which meant "a lot of coffee-drinking, going to buy fish, and hanging out."
Granted, Airbnb x The Selby was a more immersive experience than The Selby Is in Your Place. "Instead of three or four hours with somebody, I had two days," he pointed out, "and that's a fun element to Airbnb that made for a totally new photo-shoot concept."