How it works.
Aura photography requires some special equipment, including an aura camera, two hand plates, a dark background and a dark space to shoot in. The equipment itself can cost upwards of $16,000, so stepping into the aura imaging world takes commitment. Some artists work in permanent studios, but many aura photographers build mobile set-up and travel around to host pop-up events at festivals, parties and street fairs.
“For the actual session, I like to do a brief meditation with people beforehand, because I’ve found the more relaxed you are, the more colourful your aura will be,” explains Watts. The subject then places their hands on the hand sensors, which record electrical discharge. “When you touch the hand plates, it reads a bunch of information. They call it reading your meridian,” notes Watts. This biofeedback is then fed into the camera.
Your aura is based on how you feel in the moment, so if you get another aura image taken a year later or even 15 minutes later, it will look different.
The aura camera.
The camera itself has no control over the f-stop or shutter speed. This means the setting has to be quite dark. “With my personal set-up, I have a miniature yurt that I travel with, and inside we use a black background and a really bright ring light,” Watts says.
All the information collected with the hand plates is fed into the aura camera. “Inside the actual camera is a bank of light sensors that, depending on the amount of electrical output you’re producing, triggers your own unique algorithm of colours,” says Watts. The aura camera itself is shaped like a box. Inside is a traditional Polaroid camera, which captures the portrait and prints it.