PHOTOS BY CHANCE YEH/PATRICK MCMULLAN
Most of us know Todd Selby as the blog-tographer of TheSelby.com, a virtual, bohemian version of Better Homes and Gardens that acts as a window into the studios, and lives of the most eccentric characters in fashion and art. His book, released last March, gave us a rare look at the abodes of Christian Louboutin, Simon Doonan, and even Karl Lagerfeld. But, most recently, the photographer, who got his start after taking a night class in studio photography at New York's SVA back in 2001, has been working on a campaign collaboration with Cole Haan titled "The Inspired Life."
"My specialty is finding and working with inspirational people who are doing creative things and have interesting spaces and great stories, so it's all about real people. It's great for me when I can do advertising work that fits into what I'm really excited about. I have a real partner [in Cole Haan]," says Selby of the project.
Launched last spring, Selby recently wrapped the label's Fall campaign. The collaboration was celebrated at last week's party for Cole Haan's Maria Sharapova collection (co-hosted by Interview). To augment the evening's festivities, Selby donated a selection of his signature doodles and watercolors, all of which were auctioned off in support of New York's Common Cents, a charity that supports programs for inner city children. "I did some illustrations of things that inspired myself, Maria and Cole Haan, things about New York City. For example, I did a pigeon and a taxi. And Maria loves cupcakes, so I did a painting of a cupcake," explains Selby.
Selby's spring campaign for the classic leather-goods brand featured the likes of DJ Harley Viera-Newton, The Pace Gallery director Nicola Vassell, and, of course Sharapova wearing Cole Haan kicks as they gallivant about the streets of New York and LA. For fall, Selby puts a more rural spin on the ads. Taking his camera to Brooklyn and Portland, Oregon, of all places, Selby shoots a series of standout locals. "One of the highlights of the Portland shoot for me was this guy Nolan, who is a farmer. He's got a little farm on the outskirts of Portland and he's just a super great guy with a great look."
In addition to his work with Cole Haan, Selby has been working on his very first film, which he hopes to enter into Sundance. "I've been working for a long time on figuring out a way to translate my photo and book projects and The Selby, into a moving image." Also on Selby's dream "to-do" list is to shoot the Obama's in the White House, Ralph Lauren at his home, the Astronauts at the Space Station, and Bruce Weber. "I've heard about his studio, and his homes sound really amazing, and I'm, you know, a fan." Well, Bruce, what do you say?