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How Kirlian Photography Works

Cheryl Mascarenhas
Call it aura photography or contact print photography, Kirlian photography is all about capturing energy flow. Try this type of photography to get a better understanding about animate and inanimate objects around you.
Living and nonliving beings emit a distinct and unique aura. Aura or field of energy, as they call it, is nothing but radiation of electromagnetic energy from an organism. With Kirlian photography, you can capture the electromagnetic energy/glow radiating from objects, both living and nonliving.
Though aura discharge is limited to living objects, introducing a high electric current to nonliving objects also gives it its own aura or glow. Let's learn how this occurs through this story.

Kirlian Photography

Discovered accidentally by Semyon Davidovich Kirlian in 1939, Kirlian photography is essentially contact photography, which involves direct contact of the subject with a charged metal plate. In other words, it is also termed as electrography, electronic photography or corona discharge photography.
The object emanates electromagnetic waves that are captured onto the film plate, which, when developed is the Kirlian photograph of the object. It is used to show the variations in the energy flow.

Illustrations of Kirlian Photography

Working of this Technique

Living organisms give out electromagnetic impulses, normally called aura, from specific points or paths referred to as meridians. When the living organism is introduced to a high-frequency surface, the coronary discharge or aura is clearly visible as the intensity of the discharge increases.
This discharge then passes onto the discharge plate, which is recorded and when developed forms the photogram of the object being photographed.

Kirlian Photography Equipment

Kirlian photography works on the principle of contact, which means the subject being photographed must, by all means, touch the film plate directly.
The technique works by sending a painless electric charge into the part of the body being photographed and then capturing the image of the discharge onto a photographic plate. This type of photography involves the use of a different kind of equipment; it involves a high voltage transformer, an exposure/discharge plate and grounding.

Creating Kirlian Effect using a Digital Camera

When using an SLR camera to record the electromagnetic discharge, you would have to use a transparent discharge plate to achieve the desired effect. The camera is placed on one end of the transparent sheet while the object is placed on the other end.
The camera then records the discharge through this transparent plate after high voltage is applied to the plate on which the object is placed. When you're photographing inanimate objects, remember to have them connected to grounding to produce a stronger aura. A word of caution though; do not ground any living subjects, as it can result in a rude shock.

Taking Kirlian Photographs

✦ Place the sheet film on top of the metal plate.
✦ Place the object to be photographed on the sheet.
✦ Connect the grounding to the object.
✦ Introduce the object to high voltage electric current to create an exposure.
✦ The discharge between the plate and the object is recorded onto the film.
✦ Develop the image for your unique Kirlian photograph.

Constructing a Kirlian Camera

Discharge Plate: To make the discharge plate, you can use either a copper board or an aluminum foil covered wood piece.

Wooden Enclosure: Create a wooden enclosure for your camera to block out all other sources of light to get a clear image.
Power Supply: You can use your car or motorcycle battery to generate the power supply or simply connect it to a wall adapter giving an output of 12-14 volts DC.
Transparent Discharge Plate: When using an SLR camera, you would need to use a transparent discharge plate. It can be built using a piece of glass coated with a transparent conductive oxide connected to a high voltage wire and a transfer plate.
Kirlian photography is beneficial in the medical field to study the impact of emotions on the human aura, and to predict the occurrence of sickness and stress, long before the physical symptoms become evident.
What makes this an amazing technique of photography is that you will be able to properly research the properties of medicinal plants, or even sort out seeds or analyze vitality of foodstuff with Kirlian photography.