I Got My Aura Read At The Whitney Museum & You Can, Too

The more esoteric corners of the internet already know and love visual artist Christina Lonsdale's Radiant Human project (and you might remember her from Refinery29's own 29Rooms event during New York Fashion Week). The traveling aura photography project has earned a loyal following on Instagram, and it's easy to see why. Lonsdale's portraits are vibrant, her readings are down-to-earth, and she's constantly on the move, finding new and old fans wherever she goes. And now, visitors to the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC can swing by the "dome" (the portable tent in which Lonsdale takes her photos) for a portrait of their own.

For the unfamiliar, aura reading and photography uses a special type of camera that ionizes the air around the person posing for a photo. The resulting image reveals clouds of colors surrounding the subject — their aura, as it were. And the reading explains what those colors mean in terms of the subject's mood and energy.

When I stopped by the Whitney for an aura session with Lonsdale, the first thing I noticed was her total transparency. Rather than wrapping up her work in layers of mysticism, she explains how the camera visualizes the electric currents that naturally surround me, and that her photos are not technically capturing my aura, but simply applying colors to those currents. She tells me she's more an artist than a psychic — and yet everything she tells me during the reading hits home.

Skipping over the gnarly details of my personal reading, the entire experience was informative and more than a little comforting. Aura readings are meant to accomplish two things: Tell you what's going on in your head at that moment in time and remind you who you are at your most elemental. That's no small feat, but Lonsdale achieves this balance with her to-the-point, totally digestible interpretations. As she explained it, an aura portrait is really just another type of selfie, simple as that (of course, minus the part where someone else is taking the photo).

I highly recommend checking out the Radiant Human dome if you want some insight into where you are in your life. That said, it's cool if you just do it for the Insta, too — guilty as charged:

why use a filter when you've got an aura like mine? 🌘🌷🌒 📷: @radianthuman_

A photo posted by Sara Coughlin (@satancoughlin) on

Radiant Human will be at the Whitney until December 17. Lonsdale's next stop will be Seattle in January.
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