In the last few months, aura photograph has been described as "the new spiritual trend" and, more vaguely insultingly, "the latest trend for the selfie generation." It's a process which purports to photograph the "aura," the supposed colorful energy that surrounds our bodies and impacts our overall wellness. It is, no matter what else, a photograph of yourself covered in pretty colors.
As four people who are generally interested in the subject of ourselves, we decided we wanted to get our auras read. We would go to Magic Jewelry, a popular aura photography spot in New York City's Chinatown neighborhood.
The shop is very small, and it was already crowded when we got there around 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. All of the customers there, including us, were under thirty years old. The two women working were probably in their early to mid-forties. They stood behind a long glass display case full of crystals for sale. We said we were there to get our auras photographed, and one of the women motioned for us to come over to the camera.
The photographer directed us, one by one, to sit down on a small wooden throne, and place each hand on a metal plate affixed to a bright blue box, situated on either side of our legs. The camera looked like an old wooden bird house that had been painted blue, but produced instant photographs not unlike a Polaroid.
Sarah: Overall, I think it's only worth paying the $20 if you really want to Instagram that Polaroid. Or to test someone on a first date to see if they are sane.
Grace: I feel like once you've done this, there's really no need to do it again. For me, the experience you're expected to get from an aura reading could just as easily be accomplished by talking to my friends. The pictures look awesome, though. They're big and glossy and I definitely see myself framing my picture and hanging it on my wall because it has such a fun story behind it. And having my dark aura on my wall might remind me to take it easy from time to time, and be a little less hard on myself.
Joanna: I wish my energy looked more cool and exciting. Hopefully I can overcome my throat weakness.
Katie: The reading was like pretty much all advice — broad and only partly applicable. That said, I will almost certainly get my aura photographed again, because I like measures of self-reflection and evaluation that are dubious in both accuracy and meaning. I think it's a fun individual field trip to go to the shop and get this weird picture to take home with me for not that much money.