#badgirlcrush – Shelbie Dimond (@notshelbiedimond)
Q: Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
A: I’m Shelbie Dimond, 24 year old gal born and raised in a teeny tiny town called Delton, Michigan. I am currently based out of Los Angeles, California. I am a freelance fine art and editorial photographer. The main theme in my personal work is an ongoing series of self portraiture.
Q: You are a very talented and creative analog photographer, how did you get involved in this industry?A: Well- through a series of life events it just sort of…happened. Basically, I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, and as a JW you are not allowed to date (or even be friends with) anyone outside of the religion–they are called “worldly” persons–and me being me, I just couldn’t follow the rules. I wanted to go to prom and had a “worldly” boyfriend at school, thus resulting in my removal of high school all-together. My father found his old canon a-1 one day that winter and he gave it to me to play around with. I began taking traditional darkroom courses at the local community college and the rest is history. I feel that photography saved my life, and it’s really the only thing I know how to do. I currently have a munch more extensive bio on my Gofundme page:www.gofundme.com/shelbiedimond for those interested in reading more.
Q: Where do you find yourself most inspired or gain inspiration from?A: I am inspired by 1930’s and 1940’s film noir; an empty room; my own demons and pain; and when the light hits something just right. Honestly, my favorite place to shoot–and where the inspiration hits the most–is my home town in rural western Michigan. The lake, the woods, the cow field behind my house– it’s all there, within less than a mile of my home.Q: Is there any era in particular that you are drawn to?A: As far as fashion, hands down the 1930’s and 1940’s–HANDS DOWN! The styles were so elegant and feminine. I really do believe that the 1930's were the definition of glamour.
Q: Living in California, are there any places which are a must see to any of our Bad Girls planning a trip?A: All Bad Girls must visit the Madonna Inn and Hearst Castle in the San Luis Obisbso area. The Madonna is an institution of glamour and kitsch, and Hearst Castle is an art-deco American relic preserved perfectly in time!Q: How old were you when you first got behind the lens, was it an instant love affair?A: I was 16 years old, and yes- it was an instant, deep, deep love affair. I had finally found my voice. I haven’t put the camera down since.
Q: You must have quite a camera collection! If pushed could you pick just one camera to use?A: That is so tough! If I had to pick one, it would be between my polaroid sx-70 and my Hasselblad. But when it comes down to it, I would have to choose my Hasselblad. Only because I then have the capability to print the work by hand.
Q: If you could pick three who would your favourite photographers be and why?A: Sally Mann: after reading her memoir, I realized just how much I see myself in her work. Her attachment to the land in which she was raised resonates so deeply with me. Cindy Sherman: for obvious reasons. I remember during one of my first critiques at college, my photography instructor noted that my work reminded him of Cindy Sherman’s. At the time, I had no idea who that was. Once I studied her work, she became an immediate favorite, and someone who’s work I keep coming back to. She is capable of morphing into literally anyone–sex, race, era–she can do it all.William Eggleston: because his work has a documentary-like feel to it, and the subject matter / aesthetic to me, conveys an idealistic lifestyle.These are all themes that find their way into my work as well.
Q: We can see you have shot some striking nude photos of yourself and others, what is it about this subject matter that you’re drawn to?A: I find it exhilarating to be able to express myself in this way. My entire upbringing I was conditioned to feel ashamed of my anatomy and of my sexuality. When I first began taking self portraits (or photographs in general), it was absolutely forbidden to even touch on this subject. I remember when I was 17 or so, I took a beautiful image of my best friend walking into a lake. Her back was bare. This resulted in “spiritual counsel” from the elders in my congregation. Even after I had moved away and was beginning to live my life outside of the religion, I still felt guilty and couldn’t find the courage and confidence to do it. Finally in 2012, I met a wonderful model who was totally down. I took pre-Raphaelite-esque nude images of her in the forest, and it was exhilarating. Now, with my newfound freedom, I am continually trying to embrace & explore my anatomy and sexuality. I feel it is important to share this with the world.Q: Apart from cameras are there any other vintage items you collect?A: I am obsessed with everything vintage! Vintage novelty prints: hot air balloons and bunnies being my favorites. I love hats..of all kinds, and anything 1930’s / 1940’s! I also collect 1960’s kitchenware called “tickled pink” by Vernonware. I almost have a full set!
Q :If you could describe your style in three words what would they be?Q: What advice could you give to any of our readers and Bad Girls looking to venture behind or in front of the camera?A: Begin with an all-manual analog 35mm camera. Take lots of pictures - even if some are junk. Just keep shooting. Also: " ‘pretty' doesn't necessarily mean interesting” is a great piece of advice that was once given to me by a photographer and mentor that I greatly admire–Todd Hido.
A: Elegant, Americana, Feminine
Q: With beautiful platinum curls can you let our readers know any tips and tricks for the ‘Shelbie Dimond’ brush out?!A: Elnett Satin Hairspray is an absolute MUST. It’s the only hairspray with an *actual* touchable hold. I find that I really can spray my set, brush it out and find soft, but sturdy curls.Q: Do you follow any health / beauty routines? If so could you share some with our readersA: I spent years not knowing how to do my hair or makeup. Now that I have my wet-set down, I’m really focusing on my skin, meditation, and fitness. I try to: never go to sleep with makeup on (I failed at this miserably for most of my teenage years); moisturize every morning and night; and exfoliate at least twice a week! It is so important to maintain healthy skin, because our skin is our blank canvas for our masterpiece! Also, you don’t get a second chance with your skin, so take care of it!Fitness and meditation are fairly new for me, I’m going to be completely honest. I try to meditate for at least 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes before I go to bed. Practicing meditation is proven to increase grey matter in the brain! Which, of course, directly affects your mood, anxiety levels, etc. And believe it or not, just spending 10 minutes, twice a day, drastically affects the way you feel.I never felt pretty before I found my vintage style. Finding vintage and becoming a glamour “Bad Girl,” really was a pivotal point in finding myself and embarking on my journey of self acceptance. When I was a teenager, I was in no way, shape, or form–healthy. I ate poorly, I never exercised…and I felt bad about myself all the time. Last year, right around my 24th birthday (after being encouraged by my lovely boyfriend), I decided it was time for a change: I would eat more food - healthy food - and I would include fitness in my daily life. We started with yoga, and by mid-summer I signed up for a gym membership. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I began my fitness journey for the physical results, yes, but what I wasn’t expecting was the mental and emotional side effects as well. I feel calmer, stronger, & more energetic on a regular basis. This is so cheesy but beauty starts on the inside, ladies! Haha!
Q: What is your all time favourite film? Do you have a favourite film director?
A: The Godfather(1&2)! I know it sounds cliche- everyone loves The Godfather. I became obsessed with the movies around age 14 - AMC does an edited-for-television Godfather marathon every Thanksgiving and my mom had it on every year without fail. I remember the first time I watched the un-edited theatrical version, boy was I in for a surprise. When I read the novel it was practically life changing.On a related note- Mario Puzo’s “The Sicilian” is probably my all-time favorite novel. I’ve read it 7 times but I refuse to watch the film adaptation out of fear that it will ruin the imagery for me. It is sort of like a sequel to the Godfather in a way, taking place when Michael is still in exile in Scilly.My favorite film directors would include: Paul Thomas Anderson, Woody Allen, Alfred Hitchcock, and Wes Anderson.
Q: Who are some of your favourite musicians? What is your favourite era of music?A: Eminem, Tom Waits, Emily King, The Cure, Leonard Cohen, MF Doom, Paul Simon, Led Zeppelin, Patsy Cline, Neil Young, JJ Cale, Death Cab, The Strokes, Beck, Emmylou Harris, New Radicals, Miles Davis, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Lightnin’ Hopkins. Era / genre…it really doesn’t matter for me, good music is good music!
Q: If you could pick one, who would your Ultimate Bad Girl be and why?A: There are so many “Bad Girls” that I look up to: Dita Von Teese, Lauren Bacall, Marlene Dietrich, Frida Kahlo, Veronica Lake (I use her wet-set pattern!) Right now, personally, my ultimate “Bad Girl” would be Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She was raised Muslim (mainly in Ethiopia but also lived in Saudi Arabia among other countries), endured FGM, escaped an arranged marriage, taught herself how to read and write Dutch, became a member of the Dutch Parliament, uses her past as a way to bring awareness and empowerment to women, has to live with a bodyguard due to the death threats that she receives (as she is also an outspoken apostate)– and yet she still continues to speak out against what she truly believes is wrong.Two of my favorite Ayaan quotes is “Without sexual freedom, there is no self” & “...Bear true witness, even if it be against yourselves, your parents or your family.”Also, she’s a stone cold fox!! She is my ultimate “Bad Girl” crush.
Q: What do you love about The Original Bad Girl?A: I love that TOBG is all about confidence, glamour and empowerment. As a brand, that is so important to me! TOBG caters to all women, no matter the body-type and the price point is accessible across the board, without sacrificing quality of the garments!Q: What are your goals for 2017?A: In 2017 I hope to be more compassionate with myself, live healthy, respond to text messages in a timely manner, create more, collaborate with other badass creatives, and travel.IG: @notshelbiedimondWebsite: www.shelbiedimond.comParis Artist Residency Gofundme: www.gofundme.com/shelbiedimondPatreon: www.patreon.com/shelbiedimond
(Columnist for The Original Bad Girl Blog)