Inside the Selby - Design Bureau

Inside the Selby

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Part photographer, part journalist, part sojourner, Todd Selby is the anthropologist for our modern age. His blog “The Selby is In Your Place” is the latest in a recent trend of voyeuristic lifestyle photography websites peppering the Internet. Unlike many of the street fashion and design blogs that cohabit this digital space, Selby’s focus isn’t singular. When he arrives at the house, apartment or studio of one of his far-flung, eccentric subjects, he walks in not with the objective intention of shooting the wackiest pair of shoes or the Eames chair in the corner, but rather with the aspiration to map and log the outward physical projection of his subject’s inner life.

His work has allowed us a peek into the psyches of fashion wunderkind Alexander Wang, artist Robert Longo, and the ever-curious Tom Wolfe, as well as the homes of his closest friends. Selby’s blog caught fire in the past year, and in addition to collaborations with Nike, Colette and Louis Vuitton, he released a book based on his project, entitled, aptly, The Selby is In Your Place. Unfortunately for most of The Selby’s fans, placing a copy on a home bookshelf may be the only way this statement will ever ring true.

To begin, could you tell me a little about what you do?

I photograph people—creative people—in creative spaces. Basically, what I try to do is tell stories about people through what they’ve chosen to put in their homes. Document their personal style and kind of try to capture a sense of who they are through my photographs and illustrations and interviews.

Tell me about your childhood home, and if it had any influence on your appreciation of other people’s spaces?

Well, I grew up in the suburbs in Orange County, and I don’t think anything about my home architecturally, or from an interior design perspective, was anything really special or interesting. I think what was great about it was that I traveled a lot growing up and we would always bring back stuff from our travels, so [my home] was filled with mementos of our trips. We went to Papua New Guinea, and we went to China, and we went to Russia in the 1990’s, so the house had interesting things that told stories about our family and our traveling. I definitely think that there’s a seed of something, as far as my interests in people’s homes. I wouldn’t say that I’m particularly interested in architecture, or even interior design, but I’m more interested in the stuff that people fill their houses with, what this says about them.

Do you have artists you look to for inspiration?

Lil Wayne.

How do I get The Selby in my place?

Extremes are always interesting.

Do you have any life rules that have served you well? A mantra?

“Every day I’m hustlin.’”

By Annika Welander
Photos by Todd Selby

Tagged with: