You may have looked at a photo of a crystal before - online, on your phone, or in a book - and were overcome with a certain emotion or feeling. That's because, much like reiki, a crystal's energy can be transferred through a photo, allowing you to become awash in some of the stone's properties - sometimes without even realizing it! If you've ever seen a picture of a crystal and had that lightning bolt moment where you knew you needed to seek out the stone, were almost brought to tears, or suddenly felt a jolt of excitement, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
Insert Monique Pantel of Pantel Photography. Monique first shared the concept with me while on shoot at my house, and I was shocked I had never heard of it. It was so simple. By shooting through crystals, Monique has created a soft, recognizable look to some of her photos - but the power of shooting through crystals penetrates deeper than just a pretty image. It infuses the photo with abundant properties.
We shot through this hunk of clear quartz to the left of my laptop:
Pretty cool effect. That haze along the bottom and hugging my laptop? That's the clear quartz.
Monique and I met through a college web thanks to a moderately-sized but close knit creative community. We've collaborated, expanded into our own projects but maintained a similar sense of spirituality and mindfulness in our careers. I find when people connect in this way, you just get each other a little more. Or maybe you get what the other is about.
Monique has been traipsing around the globe with her camera, and has an emblazoned horizon up ahead. This year, she's been on Safari in Kenya, drank wine under the Eiffel Tower, hiked Zion’s breathtaking canyons and monoliths, and had no qualms about fitting in a little RW interview while sitting on a plane to LA. And these are just some of the good things Monique acknowledges since she took the leap and just decided to follow her heart with photography. When you finally go with the flow of the universe, things seem to cosmically work out.
For the other half of 2016, Monique will be teaching workshops - some at Prairie Love, shooting weddings across Canada - oh, and getting married to the baby daddy to her dog children in an incredibly intimate ceremony on a tiny island. Dream life?
Q&A WITH MONIQUE PANTEL
Rogue Wood Supply: Alright. I'm obsessed. Can you explain the concept of photographing through crystals? How does it work?
Monique Pantel: Sometimes I like to use a blurring technique when I’m creating an image. I’ll use crystals and hold them close to my lens to create a smoky, hazy blur. I love playing with all of the beautiful colours - amethyst, rose quartz...
RW: How did you discover shooting through crystals was so effin’ cool?
MP: It’s such a cool concept, right? It’s a technique that I stumbled upon when shooting portraits. Sometimes I would take a flower, a crumpled up piece of paper or another kind of object to hold near my camera lens to achieve a beautiful blur in the image I was creating. I started playing with crystals and this technique kind of really spoke to me!
RW: I'm just thinking how reiki can be transferred through a photo. A crystal's properties could arguably have a similar affect on those viewing the image. Does shooting through crystals affect your actual subjects in anyway?
MP: I like to think so. I love to use Rose Quartz while photographing. It’s a love stone and I believe it brings a soft quality to the image and the subject.
RW: So is Rose Quartz your fave stone?
MP: Rose Quartz baby! It channels the divine feminine energy and it’s something I feel very connected to.
RW: How does spirituality and mindfulness influence your work as a photographer?
MP: So much of what I do involves connecting with people on a real level. I think the energy you bring into a photo shoot is really powerful and can influence your subject’s emotions and way the images turn out. I like to show up calm, positive, and cheerful - especially when I’m meeting my clients for the first time. I like there to be a lightness in the air. I try to create this by doing a small meditation before every photo shoot. I say positive affirmations about myself as a photographer, I envision the way it’s going to all play out and I like to make sure I’m channelling good energy.
RW: You’ve traveled the world snapping pictures. What were some of your fave places you visited?
MP: Austria for it’s incredible alps.
Kenya for it’s wild landscape and the people’s smiles.
Fiji for it’s incredible cluster of islands and turquoise waters.
Utah for it’s glowing red and orange canyons and monoliths.
Paris for the joie de vivre, wine, and beautiful language.
Dominica for it’s avocados that you can pick and eat off of the tree.
Switzerland for it’s breathtaking waterfalls.
RW: What were you doing before photography?
MP: My thesis graduating project kind of turned into a business for a few years after graduation. With one of my best pals, we created an online magazine that kind of turned into uniting the yoga community in the prairies- which still kind of blows my mind. Through Prairie Yogi, I got to go to Wanderlust Yoga Festival for free (twice!) and came home dreaming of creating a similar festival for the yoga community in the prairies. We were certain Wanderlust would never pop up their tents in Manitoba or Saskatchewan - so Rachelle and I just said, screw it - let’s put on a yoga festival. This year will be it’s 3rd year and has attracted yoga teachers from all over the world and drawn more than 500 attendees. I’m not involved with the festival’s operation anymore, but I always photograph their promotional campaign and I’ll be teaching three photography workshops this year.
RW: So what pushed you to follow your dream of being in photography?
MP: I think I finally gave myself permission to follow a creative life. For a really long time I was attached to the idea that work had to be an immense struggle and that I had to work in some kind of 9-5 box. As soon as I gave myself permission to be a photographer, the universe kind of cracked open for me, beautiful opportunities came jetting towards me and I’ve been surrounded by incredible people. It’s been a wild ride thus far and I feel very lucky.
1. How do you take your coffee?
Espresso or coffee with a shot of almond milk and sugar.
2. What’s your sign?
3. Favourite morning ritual?
Positive affirmations and spending 5 minutes meditating. I love slow mornings.
4. Last three songs you listened to?
God Only Knows by The Beach Boys, One Dance by Drake, Halocene by Bon Iver.
(I’m on an airplane so it’s a bit of a mash)
5. Fave band when you were in high school?
Way back in 2003 I adored listening to Ben Johnson, Blue Rodeo, The Tragically Hip and Ben Harper. Those musicians drum up so much nostalgia for me, I absolutely love that feeling. I also liked anything top 40. I wish I could sound cooler - but really I was just a happy teenager and loved popular music.
6. Dream trip?
I would love to take a year off and travel the globe for an entire year. Can you imagine?! Some spots on my list are New Zealand and Croatia. I’ve also had Bali on my list for about a decade. Iceland would be absolutely stunning, too. So yes, my dream trip would be a one year adventure around the globe. Maybe one day!
If you'd like to get in touch with Monique for a session, you can connect with her at
http://www.pantelphoto.com/contact/, or click Pantel Photography in my side bar.