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Adventures in Wellness: The Aura Portrait

Picture of Esme Benjamin
Wellness Editor
Updated: 9 October 2017
Inside her white space age dome, Christina Lonsdale takes portraits that capture her subjects’ auras. Two boxes topped with silver hand-shaped conductors—”conduits for the electricity in your body”—are wired up to a modified camera that uses Polaroid film to create a kaleidoscopic double exposure.

These faces enveloped in rainbows comprise Radiant Human—Lonsdale’s traveling photography project which, to date, has captured around 18,000 auras internationally. Many of her subjects come back each time Radiant Human pops up in their city, collecting a kind of visual diary of their vibes—which, in case you didn’t already know, is actually short for “vibrational frequency”.

By Amanda Suarez
By Amanda Suarez | Culture Trip

“People bring their last photo in, they’re like ‘I met you last time, it’s been six months and I’m curious to know what’s changed’, and you can see in the second photograph [how things have evolved],” she explains. “Their facial expressions, the colorations—it’s all so clear. And I think that’s what’s valuable about being able to have that experience, is being able to tangibly hold those mile markers of ‘this is me then, and this is me now.'”

Lonsdale was born on a commune started by her father in the New Mexico desert in the 1960s. A self described dorky hippy kid, Radiant Human has been her way of amalgamating those early experiences at a time when interest in the metaphysical seems to be igniting once more. “I was really interested in creating a project that would encompass a lot of my influences and be able to explore my culture in a new way that was more relatable to me,” she says.

By Amanda Suarez
By Amanda Suarez | Culture Trip

Although Radiant Human certainly has an esoteric quality about it, Lonsdale stresses that this is not a mystical photo booth and she is not a healer or a palm reader. “I’m an artist, this is a project…It’s an interactive filter, for lack of a better term.”

You can vote to bring Radiant Human to your city by visiting the website.

Adventures in Wellness explores the interesting people and out-there experiences of New York City’s wellness scene, providing a closer look at what really makes us feel good and why.