Photos by Todd Selby
I first met Todd Selby last summer when, after stopping by my office with his pal (and my friend) Mark Hunter (aka The Cobrasnake), he politely asked if he could photograph my home for a project he was launching on his website. Although I hadn’t yet seen Selby’s site and didn’t really understand what he wanted to do with the pictures, he seemed like a nice enough guy, and Mark kept assuring me he was great, so I said OK. On the day Selby showed up, my house was a slight mess, but he respectfully crept around, snapping away super casually — no lighting, no tripod — for a little less than an hour, after which he scribbled some questions on a piece of paper, handed me the paper and a marker for the answers, and then left. No biggie.
About a week later, I received an email with a link from Selby, thanking me for the session and asking if I would take a look at the photos before he put them up live, just to make sure I felt OK about them. I remember feeling relieved and thinking, “this guy really has his shit together.” And when I clicked on the link, I loved what I saw. His eye was quirky and astute, and the dozens of pictures he’d posted of my home were interesting, smart and funny, and completely captured my personality. During that short time in my messy house, he’d managed to take a wonderfully telling portrait of me just by shooting my home. I began to explore his site further and discovered more eclectic people that he’d visited and documented, and with whom he’d done the same. Great stuff.
Throughout the year, I followed theselby.com regularly and through it got to know a bunch of new and super-interesting people via images of their environments. Some of Selby’s subjects, like Erin Wasson or Michael Stipe and his partner Thomas Dozol, were more well-known, while others, like Renee (the grandmother of Cobrasnake, whose digs were outrageous), were less so. But everyone I saw seemed to be offbeat, interesting people whom you might want to know. Which is exactly Selby’s intention: “I feel like people are giving me their time and sharing their friends with me, so I want them to meet the other people who are in this community,” Selby explains. “My work has a collaborative aspect.”