The Portrait Machine Project: Recording what a psychic might see

When I first saw these Polaroids from Carlo Van de Roer ‘s The Portrait Machine Project I was struck by the acidic color washes and immediately curious as to how he achieved it. Turns out it’s not just some filter, aged film or developing technique, he’s using a Polaroid aura camera developed in the 1970s by scientists who were attempting to capture the auras that a psychic might see. I won’t pretend to understand how the camera works, but from what I’ve read the auras are rendered as each subject holds a biofeedback plate during the exposure. What happens then is beyond me.

Another interesting part of The Portrait Machine Project is that every Polaroid is matched with the cameras interpretation of the person. Describing what type of energy lies in their future, what they’re experiencing in the moment and how they are expressing it. If your left side is green, you may have growth and healing in your future. As opposed to red, which means you’ll be actively creative and should take the opportunity to enjoy sensual pleasures. Purposefully vague yet oddly specific. Regardless of if you believe in any of the metaphysical rational behind each image, the results are quite intriguing and if nothing else, beautiful. I would love to have a self portrait from one of these cameras and I’d be curious to see what kind of vibes I’d be giving off.

Found via designworklife


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Think or Smile | Nathaniel Whitcomb © 2010