Through The Lens

Shalan & Paul

June 4, 2010, by Chelsea Coyle

It was an honour to interview the wonderful Paul and Shalan Crivellari who bring a warmth and sense of humour to our readers. They are a very much in love, vibrant couple who show us stark yet mysterious and magical images that take my breath away.


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    styling: Corrina Allen (Della Serra)

    Everyone wants to know? How did you two meet?
    Shalan: Paul showed up in my basement playing guitar for my brother's band. We were best friends for a few years and then started dating. How long has it been now?

    Paul: Too long!

    Shalan: I can't get rid of him. *laughs*

    How is it that each of you with your own individual desires and dreams ended up coincidentally having the same common goal of wanting to be photographers?
    Shalan: I had actually never really thought of being a photographer when I was growing up. It wasn't really until we became friends with Donat that I started getting interested in it. Paul bought me a camera and I started shooting portraits of our friends.

    Paul: I was making films at the time and she got me hooked. We've always enjoyed working together and, since we discovered photography at about the same time, we've grown into it together.

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    model: Andy La Manga (Chantale Nadeau / Sutherland), by Shalan & Paul
    makeup & hair: Katie LeBoutillier

    What moment was it for each of you that you realized photography was going to be your career?
    Shalan: It wasn't so much a moment or a career choice exactly. We've always both just wanted to do something we enjoyed doing and hopefully make a living at it.

    Paul: I read a quote the other day that said the hardest thing sometimes is just to find your canvas. I feel like we've found it now.

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    model: Chrisy Battell (Chantale Nadeau / Sutherland), by Shalan & Paul
    makeup & hair: Katie LeBoutillier

    What do you love most about this career?
    Shalan: I think the best thing is the people we meet and work with. They make it fun and creative and exciting. We like to laugh a lot while we work and usually become good friends with the models, makeup artists and stylists after the shoot is done. One of the makeup artists we first worked with after we moved here is my best friend now. You can't ask for anything better than that.

    Paul: I would say the same, as well as being able to work with my beautiful wife every day. Did I just score some points?

    Shalan: Hmmm, yes.

    Describe the process that you both go through in selecting a model for a shoot and what do you look for in casting?
    Paul: It depends on how specific the concept is. Sometimes there are very well defined physical characteristics we're looking for, and if so, that narrows things down. Beyond that, for me, it's depth in the eyes and a range of expressions in the shots in a model's book.

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    model: Autumn Kendrick (Chantale Nadeau / Ford), by Shalan & Paul
    makeup & hair: Katie LeBoutillier

    Where do you get your inspiration from during or in creating a shoot?
    Shalan: I think our inspiration comes from different places. Other photographers, movies, music. Mostly I'm inspired by shots where the person in them is captured in a way that their strength comes through. I've always been inspired by images showing women (and men) as strong individuals. I don't mean broody and intense, but rather that when you look at that image you feel like that's a real person. That something in their expression makes you want to reach out and touch the page. I really like Inez & Vinoodh's work for that very reason.

    Paul: Also Peter Lindbergh.

    Shalan: Definitely!

    Where can we see some of your work?
    Shalan: Right now, mostly just on our website and our blog. We've kinda been playing below the radar since we moved here. Hopefully you'll see a bit more from us out there soon. We're shy.

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    model: Julia Monson (Next), by Shalan & Paul
    styling: Corrina Allen; makeup & hair: Julia Hofer

    What was your favourite shoot?
    Shalan: We've had some amazing shoots with so many amazing models, but the Wild as the Wind one just stands out for both of us. We'd been trying a few new things around that time and a couple of them hadn't worked out the way we hoped. We had shot with Christy once before and hit it off with her really well and knew she would be great for the idea we had. It was just us, Christy and our makeup artist Katie shooting in my cousin's loft. We had donuts (sorry Chantale!) and Pho and shot until we ran out of hard drive space. Everything was easy going and Christy was just incredible. It was just the shoot we needed at that point in time.

    Do you have a client or model you would love to work with?
    Paul: I think for us our dream client would be one that we can build a very strong collaborative relationship with. I think some of the best images are created when the photographer and client are working together to produce shots that will showcase the designs, brand, or individual in a unique and interesting way.

    Who wins at Rock band?
    Shalan: It's never a competition. It's all about the band and it's grown substantially over the past few months.

    Paul: I believe we're technically a supergroup now.

    Shalan: Yes! Pretty soon we're going to have to rent out a warehouse just to fit everyone. We currently have 11 band members (all with their own avatars) and we have at least 2 more coming on board. The girls tend to be more flexible in varying up instruments though. I usually sing and play drums (I do a mean version of "Don't Stop Believin'"), Paul usually plays guitar and sometimes sings lounge versions of his favourite songs, and everyone else has songs that are kind of "theirs." It's so much fun!

    Any advice for young photographers or our readers?
    Shalan: This is gonna sound ridiculously cliché, but I honestly do believe it, do what you love. Find the thing that makes you happy and give it a go. And be patient with yourself along the way. And most importantly, remember that you've chosen your path so that you can live the life you want, don't forget to actually take some time to live it.

    Paul: You can have a vision but, if you're going to work with other people you have to listen, too. You have to trust your ideas just enough to move forward, but not so much that you think there's nothing more to learn. Be bold. Don't be afraid to fail. Above all, like Shalan said, enjoy what you do. Maybe not every day, but definitely more often than not.

    Star Wars or Twilight:
    Shalan: If we're talking movies, there's no contest, it's Star Wars all the way!! (This does not include the new ones, only the original three!)

    I love the Twilight books though and have read them each a couple of times. I'm actually hooked on True Blood right now (the show and the books). I have a thing for vampires. And, in case you're wondering, I'm team Edward for Twilight and team Eric for True Blood. :)

    Paul: I have absolutely no idea what that means.

    Bob Dylan or the Rolling Stones?
    Paul: Can it be both?


    Blogs We Follow

    Cailin Hill (The Model Burnbook)

    Models x Models (Models x Models)

    Liis Windischmann's (14+ LouLou blog)

    Laura Kell (A Model Life)

    Madison Schill (Chic Greek Geek)

    Kathleen Burbridge (Kathleen in Wonderland)

    Ania Boniecka (A n i a . B)

    Shawn Dezan (motivated//ambition)