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Assoluta by Shalan & Paul Crivellari

About three or four years ago Shalan and Paul Crivellari were inspired by a good friend to pick up a camera after having spent years in the independent film world. They’ve never stopped shooting since, and today the Toronto-based couple is making their debut on Ben Trovato with a beautiful fashion editorial entitled Assoluta, featuring dancer Jennifer Nichols.

We were initially inspired by images of dancers by Peter Lindbergh that had a very raw look to them, but when we got to the space and saw the light (and Jenn in the light) the shoot really took on a more classical feel,” they explain. “I think we ended up with Cecil Beaton or Demarchelier in our heads,” Paul says.

In terms of daily inspiration, it’s a bit of a cliche, but we’re really both inspired most by our subjects,” the couple says, and judging from the quality of their work, they seem to be great professional partners even though they are married: “- Everyone thinks that because we’re married and work together every day, that we should be ready to kill each other, but we consider ourselves very lucky to be able to be creative together day in and day out. As to how we shoot, we’re actually fairly symbiotic. We both shoot and we trade off depending on which of us is most inspired or is clicking more with the subject. We usually work with the camera tethered to a computer so when one of us is shooting the other is reviewing the shots. This allows us to both be involved in different parts of the creative process without stepping over each other or confusing the subject.

On Assoluta, Shalan and Paul cooperated with stylist Zoe Mimran and dancer Jennifer Nichols, shooting at Jennifers own studio. How was it working with the team? “We had worked with the stylist, Zoe Mimran, before. We absolutely love working with her! Jenn is actually Zoe’s dance teacher and this was the first time we had met her. The day really was one of those perfect days. The light came through a couple of sky lights in Jenn’s studio and filled the space with this beautiful warm light. Everyone was kind of in tune with it. This was actually shot very quickly, start to finish we probably only had a few hours including setup and teardown.

And what about Jennifer, she looks like a natural? “Jenn is phenomenal! She is so graceful, and powerful. She understood what we were trying to achieve right away and gave us exactly the performance we were looking for.

Working with a dancer is really a completely different experience than most models.

They’re aware of their body in a very different way and there’s a real honesty in their movements. We ended up really just working with Zoe to create the space for Jenn to perform in.

Photography - Shalan & Paul
Styling - Zoe Mimran
Model - Jennifer Nichols