Back in 2008, Todd Selby shot Tom Wolfe at home in Prague for a magazine. The journal published a couple of the photographs but Selby, disappointed he couldn’t show more of the “amazing photos” he’d been able to take, decided to set up a website and post them online. Calling it theselby.com, he mailed some of his contacts to tell them what he was up to, and attracted about ten people per day. The number went up to 40 per day, then a thousand, then suddenly it snowballed, and he found he’d attracted 10,000 people in one day and an article in The New York Times.
Less than ten years later the self-taught Selby attracts up to 100,000 people in a day to his site, has worked with brands such as Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Nike, and has published three books The Selby is In Your Place (2010), Edible Selby (2012) and Fashionable Selby (2014). He’s also shown his work at Colette in Paris, and now has his first solo museum show – The Selby’s House at Daelim Museum, Seoul. He’s been given free reign over the entire four-floor building, and is covering its exterior with illustrated vinyls and sculptures, plus a ‘head in hold wall’ primed for visitors’ selfies.
Selby’s practice has expanded to include illustrations, sculptures and installations, but at heart his photographs have remained the same – shots of interesting, creative people in their wonky, maximalist homes. His subjects have included Karl Lagerfeld, Helena Christensen and Christian Louboutin, but he’s just as happy to shoot obscure bakers and knitwear designers – as long as they and their homes are eye-catching. “Minimalism to me is quite boring,” he says in an interview published in the exhibition catalogue.
“When I started shooting people and their spaces in the early 2000s that super clean look was the dominant aesthetic. What I did was so embracing of maximalism and real-life and messiness, it was a slap in the face to that whole thing.”
“Being a photographer is an instant excuse to jump into some really interesting situations,” he adds. “It offers opportunities to satisfy my curiosity, travel the world, and meet countless interesting people.”