Carrie Moss inserts film into her camera and stabilizes it on a tripod, ready for another day of shooting Polaroid portraits. Yet working out of a yurt and producing images of vibrant colors that reflect our inner state, Moss is anything but your ordinary photographer. As one of just two traveling aura photographers currently in the country, Moss is opening Austin’s eyes to a new creative force, combining art with spirituality and self-reflection.
According to traditional belief, an aura is a radiance from the energy field exuded by all living things. This aura, sometimes called “air glow,” is visualized by colors, each with a different meaning. Although auras are typically considered a paranormal modality, there is proof that humans give off radiations, such as slight electromagnetic forces, chemical emissions and sonic waves. Believers often associate these emissions with the evidence of auras.
Moss has taken this idea and her own personal spirituality beliefs to create MOODxMOSS, an Austin-based pop-up, where customers receive their own aura portrait followed by a reading at each session. She first came across aura photography when she stumbled upon an image on Instagram, which then prompted her to research the camera capable of capturing a person’s aura.
“The beauty of the image drew me in, and I’ve always believed in auras and energy—it fit into my spiritual path,” Moss said. Once inspired, she faced the daunting task of fully committing to her new project, both financially and physically. Moss worked as a photographer for many years, specializing in portraits, until she took a break to try something new in a sales associate job. When she faced the crossroads with the opportunity to commit to a career doing aura photography, Moss flew out to California to purchase the expensive, although necessary, state-of-the-art camera.
Using technology developed by Guy Coggins in 1970, the camera has the ability to capture the electromagnetic fields that surround a body. Hand-shaped sensor plates detect energy and then send it to a mini-computer within the camera. The algorithm within the computer then takes that data and interprets it as currents, eventually visualized as colors of one’s aura. The entire system uses biofeedback technology.
Yet, for Moss, this was a worthwhile investment, and her leap of faith has paid off. Hosting her first pop-up in April, she has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the Austin community. She sees a few different types of clients: some want an interesting and uniquely beautiful portrait; some come with a piqued curiosity about the process; but she also sees clients who are looking to dig deeper to focus on their energy and how it is projected through their daily actions.
When interpreting auras, Moss looks at three different areas on the portrait. The left side of the aura photo indicates one’s feminine, receptive, or feeling side. This is the part of the personality that is imaginative, or representative of that person’s own introspection. The center, around the person’s head indicates what is being experienced in the present, ideas at the forefront of the mind. An arc can indicate a person’s hopes, goals, aspirations, or value they hold dear. The right side indicates one’s expressive, active, or masculine side; this represents the personality outwardly projected and how others view us.
With so many aura portraits under her belt in just six months, Moss has already begun to see patterns. It is common for roommates and coworkers to emit similar energies, because they often are working on the same tasks or responsibilities together. Children often show red, because of their expressive nature and certain aspects of growth that they are going through. Further, she has even begun to notice patterns in auras when clients are stressed or tired.
“The aura will be thinner, not as thick and fluffy and full; it might be missing color,” she said. Since sessions are so short, she never aims to diagnose anything, but she will tell clients to make sure they are taking care of themselves. Mind, body, and spirit are all intertwined, and it’s important to be healthy in each aspect.
When asked about MOODxMOSS’s future, Moss was unsure, yet her trust in the forces of the natural world is evident.
“I don’t know, but whatever’s supposed to happen will happen. I just want to show my clients that we are more than just our physical bodies, and MOODxMOSS is an accessible way for people to actually see that in a photograph,” she said.
Body: Gains & Losses (Transformation Stories)
Mind: Brrr… It's Cold in Hof! (The Hof Method), Keep in Mind (Mindfulness and Meditation), A Proper pH (The Body's pH Balance)
Spirit: Natural Rhythms (Internal Balance), Interview with a Psychic Medium
Red: engaged in life, driven to express ideas, willpower, leadership, socially charismatic and charming, passion, action-oriented, repels and attracts
Violet: creatively and spiritually minded, often inspires others, unconventional, playful while enjoying harmony and peace
Blue: intuition, calm and collected, loves rest, loyalty, community; clear communication is important to you
Orange: enthusiasm, joy, creativity, fun-loving and lives in the now, original and independent, good with people
Gold: luck, abundance, joy; your positivity triggers a chain reaction of love, acceptance and friendship
Green: growth, willpower and determination, goal-oriented and deliberate, gentle strength and altruistic ideas
Magenta: powerful because it is a combination of red and violet, creative willpower, natural leader, charismatic, sense of humor