It is in Reno, Nevada, that photographer Shelby Duncan was born and raised. Today, she lives and works in Paris. The visual artist has a special love for youth culture. Through fashion but also through the human connections she wants sincere, she transmits stories where the flash has the value of narration.

Why does youth, fashion and lifestyle inspire so much your photographic work and since when? 

The youthful energy of self-expansion accentuates visual creation and it’s been central in my work from the very beginning. Each image is an extension of my evolving lifestyle, and fashion is part of that expression.

You are specialized in portraiture, lifestyle and travel. 

Vibrancy is life’s energy. Spontaneity is natural impulse. I value action, movement, and emotion in commissioned and personal projects. I bring these elements forth with honest communication and by formulating trust. I respect my subject’s space and feel the environment, genuinely sharing my ideas and curiosities along the way.

What is the importance of camera flash in your work?

It’s a direct offering that illuminates the instantaneous nature of a moment, when a sense of reality becomes more vividly attainable for the viewer. This vividness inspires and influences an emotion or a memory.

Can you tell me more about House of Love? What it implies for you personally and professionally?

The House of Love began when I lived with my best friend, Sarai Fiszel in Hollywood CA and turned into a widespread community of artists we fostered together. This place was freedom and soul. It was youthful spirit and aged wisdom combined. It helped me discover my authentic voice and helped so many others find their creative paths. The book is our community’s origin story told by artists, eccentrics, musicians, and unique people from around the world. It’s a representation of how lost youth creates “chosen families.” How a home nurtured with love and kindness can be much more than a memory of physical place, creating life bonds based on compassion and unconditional love. 

I couldn’t have created it without the support of my team. My agent, Nicolas Huet Greub (1718 PARIS), constantly offers his visionary brilliance. He planted the seed for this book, realizing its significance as a body of work before I did. His publishing house and gallery, Rive Gauche, is a devoted patron of the arts. Their financial support is beyond important, but they’re also pioneering and curating a space solely focused on developing personal creative projects. I moved to Paris a year ago and have been fortunate with commercial work, but artists need to make art for themselves, outside of income and industry standards. This process is invaluable for the evolution of any creative practice. 

The book has been a massive 2 years in-the-making, self-reflection process, beyond challenging and rewarding. It’s a process that has solidified and confirmed my aesthetics. It’s something I’m really proud of and excited to share with the world.