HUSBAND-AND-WIFE COLLABORATORS ANDREW AND CARISSA GALLO DOCUMENTED THEIR TRIP TO ALLURING, WONDROUS ICELAND.
Using photographs and film, husband-and-wife collaborators Andrew and Carissa Gallo tell stories that are artful and unique.
She is the photographer. He is the director. Together they are Sea Chant, a name that is inspired by a line in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
As Andrew Gallo explains it, “You give the sea your thoughts, your dreams, your feelings, and those who look into it receive those thoughts and dreams and feelings… all that stuff is hidden in the soul of the sea, and we’re just trying to tell those stories.”
Andrew and his wife Carissa founded their “storytelling outfit” last fall when they moved from the East Coast to Portland. They work for clients producing branded web series and campaigns, as well as create their own personal projects. Their style is ethereal and lovely, imbued with purposeful, thoughtful simplicity. They are inspired by all things natural—the coast, water, trees. “We use nature to our advantage,” says Andrew. “Working with natural light, beautiful environments, our locations are huge in what we do.”
And so, naturally, Iceland played the perfect backdrop for the pair. It was on both of their destination wish lists even before they met each other, and a work trip allowed them to extend a layover there in August 2012. For 10 days, they worked their way around the island in a beat-up rental car, cruising past glaciers and steaming fields, stopping to dip into geothermal pools.
“There’s something really unique about that place, where it’s almost like the earth was created and then it just stood still and stayed that way,” says Andrew. “It’s just these really ancient reminders, a beautiful, natural landscape that seems like it hasn’t changed at all. It was unlike anywhere we’ve ever been before.”
Getting lost and exploring with no distinct purpose was the point. They’d be going 60 mph down the highway and would come to a screeching halt and throw it in reverse to go back and capture something. With 19-hour days they had virtually limitless opportunities to explore. “The sun never technically set, it would just lower and rise again,” he says, “so it’d be midnight and we’d be swimming in this natural hot tub in the middle of this grassy knoll somewhere with sheep.”
There is one photo of Carissa in a cloudy geothermal pool, shot from above. All that’s visible is the top of her head and her brown hair floating, her hands clasped by the side of her face. “That was one of the first photos we took on the trip-just a few hours after we landed,” says Carissa. “That milky water was kind of magical in itself, and after we had waded around for a few hours, we went to grab our cameras in hopes of capturing the feeling. I don’t remember why I asked him to take the photo, but now, when we see it, it kind of encapsulates the other-worldly, isolated land we were venturing into.”
They met when Carissa was 17 and Andrew 18, through a mutual friend when Andrew was vacationing in San Diego. They connected initially over the piano and married three years later. And now they are parents to a 9-year-old girl, whom they adopted from Uganda last year.
Having just celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary, their sensibilities are so integrated that their influence on each other is both profound and imperceptible. Andrew describes their union as if two small trees were planted next to each other and over time their roots grew together into one. “We just rely on each other and balance each other out,” he says.