Radiant Human & Aura Photography
Back in 1970, Guy Coggins built a camera that could capture people’s auras, otherwise known as the electromagnetic field surrounding the body. There are supposedly about 100 of these cameras in existence, and one now belongs to Christina Lonsdale of Radiant Human, who goes on tour with her mini geodesic dome, photographing people’s radiant energy on Polaroid film. The portraits are stunning, strange, and so cool—thanks to a double exposure that first takes a portrait and then the aura—and they happen thanks to silver-laced hand sensors that sit in your lap, sending a charge through the body. While Lonsdale has a permanent studio in Portland, Oregon, she lives a lot of her life on the road, popping up at events all over the country. “I grew up in a commune, and my parents were huge hippies,” she explains. “My mom actually paints auras. So I spent most of my life rebelling against it and working for a big corporation.” But last year, Lonsdale was laid off. “I’m so grateful that I was kicked out of the nest, because now I feel like I’ve come home.” We had to hear more about all of it, so we lured Lonsdale to goop HQ to show us how it works—and have her read our energy.
THE RADIANT HUMAN TAKE ON COLOR THEORY
RADIANT HUMAN’S TIPS FOR READING AN AURA PHOTO
Everything above the ears represents your consciousness.
The lower left-hand color represents the energy that’s coming in, or the lens you see the world through.
This represents the energy that you’re pushing out, or how the world perceives or sees you.
This represents a goal, an aspiration, or something held in high esteem.
The GOOP TEAM
“I have never done an office visit before, and it is BEYOND fascinating to me how similar the auras are,” she explains. “It’s clear everyone is on the same page. The purple in the lower left corner is representative of incoming energy and is consistent with everyone at goop.”
GP, founder & eic
“I rarely see an arc of green and yellow together—as they actually present a polarity that can be hard to reconcile. Because it’s an arc, it’s either a direction GP is reaching for, or it’s something that she has in her life and holds on a pedestal.
“So in color psychology, yellow is fashioned after the sun—it’s easygoing, expansive, creative, and it also indicates intelligence. People say, ‘Oh, they’re so bright,’ or they talk about shedding light on a subject—those are qualities of yellow. It’s a capable, loving, smart, and generous color that’s also very fun.
“Green represents ambition and being career-oriented. Green wants to work long, hard hours—as long as necessary to achieve its goals. Think of the green in nature—a tree pushing toward the sun, or a vine fighting its way up a trellis—green perseveres, it has determination and focus. It can be stubborn and impatient. It can hold on tight.
“So the arc indicates a polarity: Push and pull, being generous and saving money, holding on and letting go, working hard and having fun. Mediating those energies is hard, particularly because of the presence of blue throughout the photo, including across and around GP’s face. Blue is an emotional color, and it indicates that she feels things very deeply.
“The magenta is also fascinating: It’s the combination of red and purple (rather than separate hues, like what you see in the yellow and green above), and so it’s creative willpower. The purple is visionary and high-concept—it requires believing it’s part of a positive change in the world, of imagining what the world could be. When integrated with red, it becomes action-oriented. It means that she’s actually putting it out there and making moves to turn the vision into reality.”
Elise Loehnen, editorial director
“The similarities between the group are wild—in some ways, I’m not surprised since the group is working toward the same thing, but it’s still wild. Much of what’s true for Elise holds true for the rest of the team.
“The arc of blue at the very top represents trust, devotion, loyalty, and emotional security—this is why a lot of banks use blue in their branding, as it influences trust in people. It also feels things deeply, and is very connected to personal relationships and communication—it’s clear that trust and loyalty is a pervasive theme throughout the group.
“The most prominent color is purple, which is a visionary-based, collaborative color: It loves to entertain and delight others, and reach as many people as possible. It’s also very open-minded—it’s like the ’60s in a way, which was all about pushing past the status quo and offering a new way of doing and thinking about things. It’s a very evolutionary, positive color. One of my favorite things about purple is that it’s a natural performer—it’s magnetic and charismatic without necessarily being outgoing. I use Bob Dylan as an example of this: He shared a compelling dream, and had an incredible magnetic quality, without being a showman. It can also be a very head-in-the-clouds, spaced out color that has a tendency to be impractical. When I say impractical, I mean that it can be locked in concept and not necessarily rooted to the ground.
“That’s why it’s good that it’s balanced by orange—and red—in some. Those are physical and grounding colors, which provide the counterbalance to this out-there purple. Orange is the synthesis of red and yellow: Yellow is very positive, enthusiastic, whimsical, easygoing, and generous, while red is practical, rooted, forceful, and courageous. When red and yellow are mixed together seamlessly, you have a dynamic color that can collaborate well and accomplish a lot.
“Elise has tan in her aura, which means she has the capacity to take out-there concepts and explain them in a logical way. It indicates a taskmaster and someone who thrives on making lists, and judges based on productivity and results. Tan also requires process: While purple can go from Step 1 to Step 50, tan won’t let you skip those steps. When mixed with orange, a tan can be a good director, who can establish a timeline and be the string that’s tied to the purple balloon—which has the potential to fly away if not tethered to the ground.”
Kevin Keating, lone guy in goop office
“Kevin has the blue, purple, a little bit of tan, and a lot of orange. Orange indicates that Kevin can read people very well, and that he’s very people-oriented. It’s generally a visual hallmark of entrepreneurs and those who work well with the public—it seems like he interfaces with a lot of people, in a lot of different environments. The blue is very handy for him, as it indicates that he’s sensitive to his surroundings and the needs of others, is loyal and devoted, and is able to establish an emotional bond. That’s important for the entire goop team, as GP has a lot of blue: When there’s blue, there’s a need to have an emotional connection with the people you live and work with. Kevin has some tan, which indicates a taskmaster/to-do list tendency, the desire for a schedule, and the capacity to communicate logically.”
Thea Baumann, food editor
“Like Kevin and Elise, Thea has blue, purple and orange—and a lot of red. Red is fascinating for many reasons. It’s the first color that we identified in our linguistic history, and it is also the first color that we painted with. It shows us that it deals with initiation and bringing something new into the world. It’s the color of action, of passion, struggle, and all those fundamental human experiences that push us to do something. Because it’s very physical, it needs to express itself—when you have that intensity of energy, you can’t sit with it for too long. You have to work through and express it, otherwise it will explode.”