“There are moments when we are looking at something we made together and it’s exactly what we have been dreaming and envisioning, something we could only create together…and it’s just really satisfying and full of love-feelings,” says Carissa Gallo, one half of the cutie couple behind Sea Chant, a photo/directing duo based out of Portland, Oregon. Carissa and her husband Andrew shoot on location around the world, they create moving, ethereal video and film work for clients like Levi’s, Kinfolk, Nike, Frankie Magazine and more. Portland and Barcelona-based photographer Berta Pfirsich stopped by the studio to capture the pair in their light-filled, collaborative space, and we found out about their greatest adventures together, where they find inspiration and how they find balance in juggling their roles as husband-wife and creative collaborators.
photography by berta pfirsich
Photographers/directors behind Sea Chant Andrew and Carissa Gallo in their Portland studio. They met through a mutual friend in 2007. Carissa remembers: “We rode to the beach in the backseat of someone’s car and talked about music and art and other things high school aged kids talk about.”
The Gallos joined forces naturally. “Ever since we knew each other, we would sit side by side and create stuff — music, crafts, etc.,” Carissa says. “Then, we started making stuff for fun our first few years married, and started getting work as a team after that.”
A Sea Chant photo that appeared in Kinfolk Issue No. 9. The pair used to share office space with the magazine. On their current list of people they would love to work with? David Byrne and Brian Eno.
They collaborate on many types of projects, but most enjoy writing and producing original content for clients. Their roles on each project are integrated with Carissa art directing and writing and Andrew overseeing all the technical aspects of a shoot.
On set, Carissa and Andrew co-direct films and Carissa shoots stills. They work together on all post-production. “We are always in each other’s worlds, from start to finish, and we like it that way,” Andrew says.
A Sea Chant photo from a campaign for Fred Water, shot on location in LA.
The Gallos found this office space that used to be a record store in Portland’s east Burnside neighborhood. “We love it because in our neighborhood are some of our favorite restaurants and shops, but it’s also kind of residential, so we have sweet older couples and dogs on walks visiting us, too,” she says.
The Gallos on Portland: “We love to be in a pretty city that we can walk all over — the flowers and foliage are stunning. And being near water is very essential to our well being. It’s full of a lot great people doing what they love, and that’s a privilege to be apart of.” Their favorite date night spots are Navarre or their regular breakfast hangouts Sweedeedee or Broder Nod.
Andrew on Carissa: “By working with Carissa, frequently and intimately, I constantly have a front row seat to observe a person who’s standard for quality is very high. I’ve learned to not settle for mediocrity, but push myself to bigger and greater things. She helps me see the world in new ways. Our love gives me a lot of inspiration to infuse into what we create. ”
Andrew takes a coffee break in the studio. “We are in love with every aspect of each other, so we never go too long just talking about one aspect,” he says. “We are in love, parenting our children together, best friends and business partners, so there is always a lot to talk about.”
The couple has travelled the world and their favorite spots along the way have been Africa (“We love every country we have been to there, but Uganda holds a large portion of our heart,” Carissa says), Wellington, New Zealand (“We fell in love with it and considered not leaving.”) and Iceland (“We’ve been a few times and really connected with the landscape and culture we experienced there.”).
A Sea Chant photo from a campaign for Aether Cone, shot on location in LA.
A Sea Chant original, entitled “The White Place,” shot on location in NYC.
The Gallos best advice for staying connected as a couple? Put your devices away. “We make sure that at specific times/places neither of us are connected so that we aren’t distracted and just there for each other and those around us. (Some people find this very frustrating…oh well)!” Carissa says.
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