You've most likely seen the photos, those tiny polaroids with a big impact. Each is a not-quite portrait, the vivid and bleeding colors reveal not just the physical features, but the aura (essentially your spirit, dip-dyed). Gospel to many, beautiful nonsense to some, aura photography is an incredibly unique and intriguing way to capture the self. We were able to chat with Michael Walker who, with his wife Sharon, make Halo Auragraphic, a traveling photo studio that provides this mystical aesthetic service. Whether you're totally on board or just in it for the art, learning more about aura will definitely delight your senses.
Hello! First off, in so many words, explain to us what an aura is:
The aura is an electromagnetic field of energy emanating outward from a person's body from the various energy centers such as the organs and chakras.
Why were you drawn to aura photography?
For a long time I've been fascinated by the history of people trying to capture this energy in a photograph. Nikola Tesla was the first to try over a hundred years ago. Then in 1939 a Russian engineer named Semyon Kirlian stumbled on a way to photograph the outer energy corona of people's fingertips and objects like leaves, which is called Kirlian Photography. The color-film version that we utilize was developed in the 1970's. For me, this process taps into my never-ending curiosity about where we come from and what we really are; it keeps me constantly intrigued.
Tell us a bit about the process. What can someone expect when they go to get their photo taken?
You sit down and we place two hand sensors on your lap which are connected to our camera. You match all your fingers up with the silver parts of the hand sensors. The hand sensors measure the electromagnetic energy in your body. The the photo itself is a long exposure that takes about ten seconds. After the photo is taken it takes about one minute for the photo to develop. When the photo is ready we give you an explanation of what the various areas of the photo mean and an interpretation of the meanings of the colors in the photo.
What is your favorite part about shooting subjects in this particular way? What do you take away from it?
When I'm shooting it doesn't feel like a standard photo, it feels more like a science experiment and I love that. The anticipation of seeing each photo never gets old. What I take away from this process is how much we want to truly know ourselves on a deeper level and just how connected we all are. Research shows that the third and outermost layer of the aura may be infinite. If you stop and think about that for a second it will blow your mind; our energies are literally physically connecting with and affecting each person we come in contact with.
In The Valley Below, Jason Lee
Jonathan Chu, Brittney Brown
What is the most surprising portrait you've taken?
It's hard to say, there have been quite a few! There was a woman who had a very violet energy going on in her photo and after I told her about her photo she said "I just thought I should share with you that I'm pregnant with a girl and the name we chose for her is Violet". There have also been unexplained light orbs that show up from time to time.
Do people's auras change over time?
Some people's auras seem to shift with their moods or phases of their lives and other's auras are extremely consistent over time. We really are the product of our environment and the same can be said about our auras, they can be affected by the people we come in contact with, things we are holding on to, what we are experiencing in life and how we choose to project all of that into the universe.
People often look to culturally pervasive personality tests or the zodiac to give them a behind the scenes look at their personalities. Do you think aura photography can truly teach people about themselves?
Yes, I think it's a really helpful tool that allows you to see what energy is currently coming your way, what energy you are pushing out and what energies you are mentally focused on. With that information you can decide how you want to move forward and where you want to steer your ship.
Why do you think people are always in search of a deeper understanding of self? How can someone go beyond navel-gazing to using self-knowledge to connect to something greater?
I think most people have a sense that there is more to the universe than we can simply see and touch. The physical world leaves a lot of unanswered questions for people so it's only natural to want to dig deeper. However, there's not one prescription for people to make that connection, it's going to be different for everyone depending on their path and where they are in their journey. The main thing is to just be "open".
What has reading other people's auras taught you about yourself?
It has really challenged me to be more conscious of my own energy and what I'm putting out there to my family, friends and the people I meet through HALO. I'm a bit of an introvert and it's gotten me out of my head a little bit, which is a good thing!
Photos by Jonathan Chu.
Aura photos by Halo Auragraphic. Curious about your own energy? Check out upcoming shoots with Halo Auragraphic here.