Shelbie integrates the flow of nature into her photographs – light and water alike. She documents fantasy and realism and her pictures portray emotional honesty – gemlike in every angle.
Tell us something about yourself.
I’m Shelbie, Shelbie Dimond (pronounced as “diamond”). I moved to the San Francisco bay from my home in little ole Delton Michigan about 6 months ago, turned 19 last week and I’m spending most of my time shooting as much as I can, living as much as I can.
How/When did you begin taking pictures? What was your first camera?
I began taking pictures about 3 years ago, during a long, cold, snowy winter. I was stuck inside, bored out of my skull, decided to take a few self portraits with a Canon rebel, made some friends on flickr, became addicted to shooting, my dad gave me his Canon A-1, which he was using for astro-photography, and fell in LOVE with the honesty and aesthetic of film. The rest is history. I remember taking the camera with me to a thrift store and the cute boy behind the counter gave me a roll of agfa b&w film- from then on the experimenting never stopped. I then started college, focusing on b&w film processing and printing. I spent more time in the dark room working on personal projects than schoolwork.
Describe your style in photography. What are your usual subjects and themes?
I started out shooting mainly self portraits (which I’m trying to get back into), but nowadays I like to think up fantasies and dreams in my head and put them on film for everyone else to experience, because really, reality is hard and not very pretty most of the time. I like to use natural elements to get this effect: water/light. I also document- lots and lots of documenting. Anything from my boy, scenery, people I meet on the street- the main goal is to capture the emotion of the subject/time/place that I’m documenting.
Amongst your numerous film photographs, which is your favourite?
It is really hard and seemingly impossible for me to choose a “favorite” but this photo comes to mind. It is a picture of my best friend, was taken on the lake that I grew up on, the colors are so yummy you could eat them, and the glowing red effect around her face and body couldn’t be more perfect. What makes it even better, it was shot with a disposable camera I bought from a drug store. Goes to show you don’t need an expensive, fancy camera to get a good photograph.
What is the soundtrack for your series of photographs?
Sigur Ros, Lykke Li, Glasser, Animal Collective- “other-worldly” sounds greatly inspire my photography.
We all have our idols, which photographers do you look up to?
Kate and Amanda Pulley. I am lucky enough to call them dear friends, and let me tell you- they are pros at producing the loveliest of lovely magical and dreamy images with their polaroid skills. We had the opportunity to meet and collaborate last summer. The photos I took from that day are some of my favorites and will always hold them dear. From the start of my photography career I looked up to them, and will continue to do so.
I also really admire Ana Cuba from Spain, her medium format photography being my favorite. She has a way of shooting day-to-day reality, making it seem not so bad after all.
If you could take anyone’s portrait using film, can be living or dead, who (would it be), which (camera would you use), and why?
I would love to do an all polaroid series of Lykke Li, I feel we could make some really eerie, dreamy, magical, haunting images.
Analogue vs. Digital. What makes analogue/film photography more special than digital?
I feel that analog photography is the epitome of honesty. I will always love film first and foremost because like I said, I have a hard time with reality. It isn’t good enough for me. This isn’t to say that I am against digital photography- I am currently trying to round myself out as a photographer and am working on getting digital results I like as well.
Do you own Lomography cameras? Which is your favourite?
I own a Holga, I love it because of the blurred edges, a built in dreamy effect. I also love it because I can take it with on adventures I wouldn’t take other cameras- i.e. snowboarding. A friend recently got me a Diana, but I haven’t had the chance to develop the film I shot with it. Sure is cute though!
A lot of people are into photography today, what would you say to them to inspire them more?
Practice on an all manual camera like a Canon tlb or a Nikon Nikomat. It will force you learn the real basics of photography – something every photographer must know.
Do you have any ongoing/future projects?
I’m planning a video/polaroid/other mediums shoot in the Marin headlands. It is going to be wild. I’m also trying to shoot some editorial type shoots, lookbooks for clothing stores/lines,magazine spreads, anything commissioned. I moved to California to start my life and photography career!