PHOTOGRAPHY: Carlo Van de Roer Captures Auras


Disgraced Author James Frey, Carlo Van de Roer

Disgraced Author James Frey, Carlo Van de Roer

Photographer Carlo Van de Roer created a digital “mood ring” image capturing system with the AuraCam 6000. Using the camera and system Carlo has created, the aura detecting and recording device has made beautiful images of ephemeral moments for the Portrait Machine Project. The system that created the psychedelic clouds consists of a Polaroid land camera connected to a biofeedback sensor.

yoko okutsu

Yoko Okutsu, Carlo Van de Roer


Yoko’s Aura Data, Carlo Van de Roer

The project website says, “This project explores the idea that a camera can reveal an insight into the subjects character or the relationship between the photographer, subject and viewer. These portraits are made with a Polaroid aura camera developed by American inventor in an attempt to record what a psychic might see…Aura photography is a relatively recent offshoot of spirit photography. Unlike attempts to record images of ghosts, aura photography evolved from a type of spirit photography – popular around the time diagnostic imaging devices like the x-ray emerged — which sought to objectively measure and document unseen aspects of the human body.”

John Mahoney of American Photo Magazine guesses the auras are created by a “combination of humidity, temperature and electromagnetic data, which is exposed onto the film for six to eight seconds after the initial photograph is made with visible light. More or less like an electric mood ring.”

Waris Ahluwalia, waris ahluwalia

Waris Ahluwalia, Carlo Van de Roer

Regardless of whether the apparatus is a mere novelty, or if Carlo has really tapped into peoples auras, the work is an interesting take on hacking digital information to enhance an image. Remember your and your friends reactions when a mood ring went on a finger? I remember the fun and curiosity they brought, regardless of the accuracy of the mystical 25 cent piece of bling.

The work will be on view at Randall Scott Projects in DC from July 13th through August 10th. The opening reception and book signing is on July 20th, 6-8pm.