Radiant Human, the Aura Photographer
Christina Lonsdale is an aura photographer. Yes, you heard me right and she goes by the name Radiant Human. She was one of the vendors at Mercado Sagrado. I saw this huge dome like structure standing in the middle of the fair. When I went to go ask how long the line was to get one's picture taken the women scribbling in names into a notebook kindly told me it would be about an hour wait. This was obviously a popular thing but what was all the fuss. Each person gets their aura polaroid taken and a private reading with Christina about what the colors in our polaroid signify. I don't know that much about aura photography but the first time I saw something like this was Carlo Van Do Roer's "Portrait Machine". The colors were strikingly beautiful. I questioned my need to believe in the science of the craft for me to appreciate the end result. Let's learn more about this radiant human and the art behind this thought-provoking form of photography.
Q+A with Radiant Human
Q: Where are you from?
A: My parents met because of a goat named Foxy Lady on a commune in Northern New Mexico that my dad started in the 1960s and that pretty much set the tone for my existence. I was born in New Mexico and by junior high I moved to Southern California and lived near the beach for about 20 years.
Q: When do you start taking pictures?
A: Photography is relatively new to me. My creative process has always been conceptual, letting the message dictate the medium. My friends and my sister have been invaluable resources in this project.
Q: When do you first hear about auras?
A: I remember reading Barbra Brennan's “Hands of Light” when I was 14 and I was like “WTF! This chick is a physicist!??” I was at a time in my life when I was really pushing back on a lot of the new age stuff my parents were into and questioning everything. Brennan explained the energy field in such clean academic way that totally spoke to me, I really loved that she was addressing these really unconventional out there concepts in a very grounded logical way.
Q: When we met you told me a lot about the color red and its significance. Could you tell us more about that?
A: I grew up around a lot of spiritual narcissism and it made me very sensitive to the implied hierarchy of the chakras and the connotation surrounding color. When some people get red auras they get worried like they did something wrong, like they're not a good person unless they get this perfect violet white. But let me tell you something; color is a frequency, its like a musical note, just because one note is on the “bottom” of a keyboard doesn’t make it less valuable. The cool thing about red is that its always strong no matter what, its an access point to what drives us physically. Red was the first color we defined in our linguistic history and also the first color we painted with in the caves so long ago. Because of this, red can be considered a birth color; new beginnings. With new change comes strength and courage, and not without some challenge, as all you mothers well know. There is passion and desire to see you through, standing on a foundation of practicality and logic. This is a physical and energetic color that is full of powerful sensations, and when you have low muddy red; that just means you probably have a hang over.
Q: How did you team up with the folks over at Mercado Sagrado?
A: Heather Culp, the co-founder, has been a very close friend of mine for almost 20 years. She is hands down one of the most inspiring women in my life.
Q: How does your aura camera work and did you build it?
A: The Aura Camera was invented by a lovely man named Guy Coggins and has been hand built since the 1970s. The camera uses electromagnetic hand sensors that translate your vibrational frequency to a colors vibrational frequency and then displays that color through a second exposure on an instant polaroid photo.
Q: Tell us about your geodesic dome
A: It is a 40 pound fully portable poem to vibey science
Q: How would you explain an aura to someone who does not know what you are talking about?
A: Every living thing has energy running through it, what most people don't know is that this energy radiates past our skin's surface creating an energetic field most commonly called an aura.
Q: What is your favorite book about auras?
A: That's like picking a favorite child...I can't and I won't. What I'm reading now is a delightful little brain snack called “Blueprint For Immortality” written by Dr. Harold Saxton Burr, PHD, first published in 1972. He is known for his research in electrodynamic fields and was member of faculty at Yale University for fourty-three years, teaching anatomy and neuro-anatomy. I purchased it at this amazing book store called simply, The Book Shop, located on Temescal Alley in Oakland CA.
Q: What colors do you typically get when you get your picture taken?
A: I've been getting a lot of purple on top with red down below. I call it my Rothko.
Q: Can you see a personas aura without a camera?
Q: Do people ever think that it's all hocus pocus?
A: Sure. I'm the first person to admit that this isn't for everybody, but most people are curious. Even if you don't believe in how it works or what the colors represent, whats the worst that can happen? You still get a cool photo out of it.
Q: Who is your dream person to photograph?
A: I just did my grandmother and that was really special to me.
Q: Where is your sanctuary?
A: Grifith Observatory, The Huntington Library and anywhere with water and green living things.
Q: What is your astrological sign?
A: Im a Sagittarius, Taurus rising with four planets in Scorpio and four planets in Libra all having a house party in the 6th, 7th and 8th .
Q: Who are other artists that inspire you?
A: James Turrell gets me every time.
Q: What are you top tips for starting a business?
A: Just do something that gets you excited, always push yourself to do better, and don’t let fear or laziness make decisions for you.
Q: What is your daily mantra?
A: Discipline Relieves Stress
Q: What is the most valuable advice you have ever received?
A: “when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro” - H. Thompson