Kirlian Photography

Introduction to Kirlian Photography

Kirlian Maple leaf print

What is Kirlian Photography?

As its most basic level, Kirlian photography is a high voltage, contact print photography. Whether you are using sheet film or s digital camera, the process is simple. Sheet film is placed on top of a metal plate, called the discharge or film plate. The object to photograph is placed on top of the film. If the object to be Kirlian photographed is inanimate, such as a coin or leaf, a earth ground is connected to the object, see diagram.

Kirlian Film Set Up

High voltage is applied to the plate momentarily to make an exposure. The corona discharge between the object and discharge plate passes through and is recorded onto the film. When film is developed you have a Kirlian photograph of the object.

Using a digital camera requires a different set-up. (See Diagram.) The object to photograph is placed behind a transparent discharge plate (TDP). The high voltage is applied to the TDP. The digital camera takes the kirlian image by shooting through the TDP.

kirlian digital camera set up

Note: When making a kirlian photography of a person or a living subject - never ground or allow a ground to touch the subject when making the exposure as this will cause a nasty shock. For additional information on kirlian photography, read our ONLINE ARTICLE or purchase the definitive book on kirlian photography titled :
A Hands on Guide to Kirlian Photography

Short History of Kirlian Photography

Kirlian photography is named after Semyon Davidovich Kirlian and his wife Valentina who began their work with high voltage photography in 1939. Kirlian collaborated with his wife for over 30 years developing equipment and studying electro-photography.

The Kirlian's work was first made known to the general public in this country by a book published in 1970 by Shelia Ostrander and Lynn Schroeder titled "Psychic discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain". Kirlian work became so well know that the field of high voltage electro-photography is called Kirlian Photography.

Although Kirlian wasn't the first to study electro-photography. The field of electro-photography can be traced back to the late 1700s. At this time Georg Christoph Lictenberg noted the pictures made in dust create by static electricity and electric sparks. Nicola Tesla (1880) photographed many corona discharges using his famous Tesla coil. In the early 1900s, Russian researcher Yakov Narkevich-Todka exhibited electro photographs he had made. A little later, Dr. F.F. Strong of Tufts University Medical School used a Tesla coil to make electro-photographs of his hand.

Paranormal Claims

There are Kirlian devices being sold that claim the corona discharge in the resulting kirlian photograph is paranormal or hold information that can be decrypted by the company's researchers. My research to date shows the corona discharge can be explained by employing known physical laws, like changes in subjects skin resistance (due to factors like; stress-lying, illness, fatigue, alcohol consumption, etc) without the necessity of invoking paranormal (bio-plasma) factors. Some other variable factors influencing the resulting Kirlian picture including the object's pressure against film, air humidity, air pressure, voltage, frequency, and exposure time. If anyone has any new evidence to the contrary, I would be more than happy to examine that data.

We have never made any "paranormal" claims

Our devices are sold to make brilliant Kirlian photographs. If one wants to do paranormal research with our devices that fine. Just know we make no claim that any interpretation of the corona discharge is due to anything other than standard variable physical parameters as already outlined previously. If you discover something different, please let us know. We are open to examine any new evidence or data that comes along. Kirlian photography devices and components that are available are provide below. Sample pictures taken with our devices are shown in the Gallery.

Aura Cameras

I am asked frequently about the Aura cameras for sale. From what I understand from their sales information, these aura cameras measure the galvanic skin resistances from the subjects hand. A computer uses that skin resistance information to produce and colorize an aura around the subject on a monitor. A copy of the monitor image is printed and sold to the customer. Is this Kirlian photography? No it is not. Aura cameras and the photographs they produce are not being sold or marketed as Kirlian cameras and Kirlian photographs. Many people are making the erroneous connection to Kirlian photography since the corona discharge photographed around the subject in the Kirlian photograph is many times referred to as an aura. Kirlian photography is a photograph of a high voltage corona discharge around the subject.

What's my opinion of these cameras and their resulting pictures? From the sales data we know that whomever programmed the computer to colorize the "aura" from the GSR information also choose what color to assign. As far as I know, Galvanic Skin Resistance (GSR) is an indicator of stress, but only after a baseline has been established for that particular subject. I have not seen any scientific data to assign any other meaning, other than stress, to the GSR in human subjects. So to interpret the colorize aura to mean anything significant, other than a possible stress level, is in my opinion and at this point in time invalid.

Images Kirlian Device featured on TV show!
Video Courtesy of Mike Yawney & Citytv

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More Information

Exposure Plates
Sheet film used for Kirlian Photography
Making Exposures Using Sheet Film
Kirlian Photography using a Transparent Discharge Plate
Making A Transparent Discharge Plate
Using Transparent Discharge Plates