Taking a shot at aura photography

Toronto's Rose Aura Studio captures energy as colourful auras on film, but is this trend worth the hype?


What if a picture could tell you your mood and emotional state in rainbow colours? The concept of auras has been around for centuries, with many religions and spiritual practices placing importance on and belief in halos. However, aura photography was a newer idea with the accidental invention of Kirlian photography in 1939, which eventually led to the creation of the AuraCam 6000 commonly used today for aura photography.

The AuraCam 6000 was developed by Guy Coggins in the 1980s using technology founded by Russian scientist Semyon Kirlian. In 1939, Kirlian discovered that an item placed on a photographic plate and simultaneously connected to a high voltage, ionized the air surrounding the object. The ionized air would appear as colourful specks on a film photo.

By the same token, the AuraCam 6000 reads your aura by detecting your biofeedback through two metal hand sensors that are connected to the camera’s shutter. There is a 10-second double shutter. The first exposure takes a clean portrait of you while the second exposure superimposes the colour fields. The data from your biofeedback is then translated to different colours that correspond to specific frequencies.

In Toronto, Rose Aura Studio has had the first and only one of these cameras for the past year. Evelyn Salvarinas, who owns the Queen West private studio, has been photographing auras since 2017.

“Are you ready?” Salvarinas asks me during my recent session at her studio.

I nod and she takes the shot.

“Wow! There’s so much energy here it doesn’t fit the frame,” Salvarinas exclaims. She is looking at my Polaroid-like film of coloured auras. I’ve been told I am energetic, but I wasn’t expecting this for a Saturday morning.

When I have my photo taken, I sit in front of a black backdrop and place my hands on the hand sensors on either side of me. I’m told to not move, talk or blink for the next few seconds. As we’re waiting for the film to develop, Salvarinas shows me a diagram of the human anatomy and briefly describes each chakra and how they’re associated within our bodies.

The session takes around 20 minutes and at the end I’m left with an envelope with my photo and a mini flashcard briefly describing each chakra.

But what is an aura in the first place? It’s an electromagnetic energy field that surrounds living objects including humans, animals and plants. All living things generate and emanate energy (radiation) through heat and sound. Salvarinas describes energy fields as “fluid, powerful and radiant.”

Wondering about the accuracy of my photo, I visit Archana Rama, a traditional aura/chakra reader based in Scarborough. Upon entering her studio, she asked me to take off my glasses and to stand about two metres in front of her. While she was searching for my aura, she said she was focusing on my crown and the outline of my upper body.

“Blood and air are flowing in our veins at the same time, constantly moving. That energy is coming through your skin and out your clothes and into the air. That is what I’m able to see,” she says. “Your throat chakra is dominant and your colour is blue.”

Since Rama was young she could see auras and has gradually been reading them for close family and friends. She started professionally interpreting them a year ago. She rents out a room at the Equilibria Health Centre every Thursday, and once a month can be found at the Well of Alternative Medicine in Parkdale. She says all of us have a genetic aura colour and that this colour is irrespective of current circumstances.

“All those emotions from parents are conceived from the gene pool, and that gene pool is what dictates our future life,” Rama explains. “So we come with this genetic print of who we are from conception to delivery. That colour is what I interpret when I see energy coming through.”

She adds that our colour is also due to our conditioning, the month we’re born and our sun sign.

According to Rama, we all have a true colour that stems from our genetic makeup, and after she visualizes this colour, she can interpret the corresponding chakra and balance/realign them within our bodies through the use of minerals.

After she tells me my colour and gives a description of what that personally means for me, she selects minerals that will benefit my energy field. She explains what each one symbolizes, instructs me where to place them on my body and to meditate with them every day for 10 minutes.

“Not many people in the world can interpret energies naturally, so this is what I do. I am learning every day,” Rama says. “There are textbooks, but as I can’t read Sanskrit, it can be limiting.”

She thinks that aura photography is exciting, and to be able to capture the colours on film and to visualize it is great. Salvarinas adds that most people want their auras photographed because they’re excited to find out more about themselves. Once you can visualize your energy it helps you understand yourself better.

For me, these sessions left me thinking about where my energy is focused. Bonus points for the colourful photograph and minerals I got to take home with me.

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