Think of it as a selfie for your spirit.
With a pop-up coming to Pittsburgh this weekend, you can see a photographic representation of your aura. Eileen Lee, photographer and founder of Detroit-based AURA AURA, uses a specialized camera to capture the energy that people emanate. The result looks like a Polaroid selfie, topped with colorful, swirling light.
“An aura is basically the human energy field,” Lee said. “The term ‘human atmosphere’ really resonated with me. You think of the Earth’s atmosphere. The aura is the energy that is with you at all times. It’s like your energy bubble. It’s like the human electromagnetic field.”
Everybody gives off a certain energy — “your energy introduces you before you even speak,” she said.
It’s kind of like a mood ring, in that the colors indicate your spirit at a particular moment, though this photography is not temperature-based like the popular ’70s-era jewelry.
“We’re measuring the light frequency that’s emitted from your body; that’s what the camera picks up,” Lee said. “What it’s sensing is it’s reading your electromagnetic energy, and it’s reading your vibrations.”
After the photo, Lee offers an interpretation of what the image means. It’s not a psychic reading. Instead, it’s more personality-based, with one region of the photo indicating how you see yourself and another area representing how others see you.
Colors convey different meanings, as well. Green, for example, might represent growth or change. Paired with red, green can indicate new beginnings. An aura changes over time, she said, depending on outside influences.
Here’s how it works:
- Book your appointment for the Ace Hotel pop-up, or try your luck with a walk-in session. It’s open to anybody age 5 and older. Each session costs $37.
- When it’s your turn, sit in a chair with two metal plates on your lap.
- Place your hands on the metal plates. You won’t feel anything — “it’s a painless process,” Lee said. “The metal plates have a heavy duty cord linked up to the camera, so it’s literally sending the signal,” she said.
- The camera snaps a double exposure image based on the information it receives. “It’s a radio frequency and sending it as an electrical signal back through the camera,” Lee said. It all takes just 10 or 15 seconds.
- Then comes the hardest part: Waiting a few minutes for the photo to develop.
- After it develops, Lee describes what she sees in the images. Each portrait comes with a card explaining the different areas of the picture and their meanings.
With an interest in auras, the metaphysical and the psychedelic realm, Lee really got hooked on the subject after her boyfriend found an original 1945 printing of the book “AURAS: An Essay on The Meaning of Colors” by Edgar Cayce and gifted it to her. Cayce is known as a mystic and founder of the New Age movement.
“I understood that I had something really special in my hand,” she said about the book.
While living in California, she started researching the topic, learning about aura photography and reading up on the specialized camera needed for aura photos. After moving back to her hometown in Detroit, everything clicked. Lee wanted to practice aura imagery in the Midwest where it’s not as well known as in California, so she bought a camera and opened an art gallery where she takes aura photos. With photography experience and a passion for the craft, the camera made its debut in September, and since then, she’s hosted a few pop-ups around town, in addition to the permanent gallery.
Lee said she’s read every article from skeptics about the topic, and since she started this work a few months ago, reaction has been positive.
The trip this weekend to Pittsburgh — which she calls one of her favorite cities — will be the first time she’s taken her work on the road.
“I think it’s really about self exploration,” Lee said. “This project is about creating awareness to people that they have energy that is picked up by other people. We’re all the same. Especially in the political climate that we’re in in this country, it’s something I wanted to do to bring light.”
At this pop-up, get a photograph of your aura. The Detroit-based project AURA AURA is making its first trip outside of the Motor City to bring aura photography to Pittsburgh. Advance tickets are sold out, but you can try your luck with a walk-in session. Here's what to expect.
Where: Ace Hotel at 120 S. Whitfield St. (East Liberty)
When: December 10, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
How much: $37