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!”