A specialized photographic setup capable of detecting “auras,” or color-coded translations of your energy, became widely available in the ’80s courtesy of inventor Guy Coggins. Today, the process of assembling an aura photograph remains largely the same: one Polaroid-like camera, a pair of hand-shaped electromagnetic sensors and the biofeedback and electromagnetic measurements you receive from them. Using that information, an algorithm assigns an array of colors to an energy field—which is constantly shifting depending on mood or past experiences—and then layers two film photographs together.
Evelyn Salvarinas’ interest in shooting aura photography stemmed from a run-in at Magic Jewelry while living in NYC, where she was completing her Masters Degree in Fine Art History from Sotheby’s Institute. Now, living in Toronto, she runs her own studio, Rose Aura. In addition to shooting subjects’ auras, she also offers “a deep knowledge of the chakras to provide a unique, informative and comfortable experience,” courtesy of a Crystal Master Certification.
“The film aura camera is the traditional technology, however the film that is used with it has been discontinued,” Salvarinas says, noting that she proudly uses an AuraCam 6000. “As such, it is very expensive and hard to find which is why people have resorted to digital technology. Rose Aura proudly uses film, which in my opinion makes for a better aura photograph. There are many subtleties that I have found only film picks up, in addition to a richness of color that digital lacks.”
Rose Aura’s resulting portraits are magnetic and appear overlaid with a neon rainbow interpretation. They combine the warm traits of film photography with the abstract art of aura reading. Plus, they tap into human instinct to adore the novel and obscure. Whether science backs up any of the medium’s claims or not, the experience is one unlike others, and that in itself can be therapeutic.
“Your aura is your biochemical energy field that is around you at all times. It is constantly changing depending on your chakras, so the photo gives you a snapshot into what your energy looks like,” Salvarinas continues. “We all know how we feel, but this photo allows you to visualize it. Once you are able to see what your energy is saying, you begin to learn more about yourself. The photo isn’t telling you anything you don’t already know, but being able to attach color to feeling allows you to understand your own energy in a different way.”
For some, their portraits gleam with pink and green hues. Others are dominated by reds and oranges. Each is noticeably different from the other. Plus, given Salvarinas’ arts background, the shots she takes are professional-level and veer more toward an expensive session rather than a photo-booth reel.
“Your aura is changing second to second depending on your thoughts, feelings, and physical state, [as you’re] always shifting. Everyone has signature colors—chakras that spin larger than others that make up their unique personality. If you are looking to shift your energy, rest and meditation are two simple ways to achieve this. However, if something frustrating or upsetting happened in between photos that would change the sitter’s aura as well,” Salvarinas says.
The photographs may not offer any new information, or diagnose ailments or impending moods, but the portraits can affirm already-known sentiments. “I want people to gain a deeper understanding of their energy and themselves. Some people are just coming for the photo, while others are looking for an experience that affirms what they have been feeling. Regardless of where people are on their journey,” she concludes, “I am proud to be able to show them what their energy looks like, and allow them to broaden their perspective from the physical to the metaphysical.”
Appointments are available via Rose Aura’s site and start at $40.
Hero image by Edi Canedo for Evelyn Salvarinas