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Seeing The Light: How Radiant Human Captures A New Meaning To Photography

a woman sitting for a portrait.
Image courtesy of Radiant Human

Growing up, art classes taught us the various colors using crayons, markers, and other art materials. We would all vie for the same colors as we would draw the world around us. But how does the eye differentiate between reds, blues, and yellows?

Most humans can see around one million different colors. This is because a healthy human eye has three types of cone cells, each of which can register about 100 different color shades, amounting to around a million combinations. Of course, this will vary for people who have a color impairment (or are ‘colorblind’).- Pantone

In 1967, French physicist Pierre Aigrain created the term Photonics (R. Paschotta,2021). Aigrain defined Photonics as, " the science and technology of light, with an emphasis on applications: harnessing light in a wide range of fields" (ibid). Photonics adds a scientific emphasis on a fundamental human experience: humans express themselves via color.

Image of Dr. Pierre R. Aigrain
Image courtesy of The National Academy of Engineering

If the average person can see over a million colors, an extraordinary person can see more. If light is a result of energy, a person who sees more than a million colors can see the light a person's energy garners (aura). For a person who can not see beyond a million colors, it is hard to believe something you can't see. Radiant Human Founder Christina Lonsdale creates artwork that allows you to see beyond your eye's limit.

Admittedly, I know very little about auras. In order to showcase how Lonsdale incorporates business strategy into her practice, I think it's important to have a baseline understanding of auras. So, the first two questions in this piece discuss auras followed by the business strategy questions.

1. How does an aura define a person?

When someone walks into a room, we read their energy whether we know it or not. Energy speaks first. Aura photography conceptualizes this in an image. What's fascinating is that energy changes. I have been photographing the same people for years!! Through these photographs, you can identify really interesting consistencies of colors. For example, someone might have orange and purple, a few months later blue and purple, and then green and purple. Purple becomes the consistency- I call this an "energetic identity." When you can determine this, something magical happens. You gain a unique perspective of yourself and how you energetically reflect your human experience. You are a purple person going through an orange experience, a green experience, and so on. Suddenly, you gain awareness and understanding of who you are in the world and what's important. The noise doesn't affect you as much, and your life feels more meaningful and rhythmic.

A woman posing for a portrait.
Image courtesy of Radiant Human

2. Can an aura evolve throughout one's life?

Absolutely. This isn't a life sentence! Haha. In my book "Radiant Human: Discovering the Connection between Energy, Color, and Identity," I share images I've collected from photographing the same people for months and even several years. I'm calling this a "visual diary." It's fascinating to see what changes and what doesn't and the deeply human stories that coincide with the process.

3. What makes Radiant Human different from other kinds of photography?

We all use photography as a way to capture a moment so we can share that moment with someone or so that we can reflect on that moment later by ourselves. When you take an aura photo, both aspects are still true, with the added dimension of seeing your energy in that moment. This is profound when you start thinking of the spectrum of self-observation that can occur when you get photographed during a breakup, a job promotion, a pregnancy, or even processing grief. Typically, challenging moments are hard to capture accurately with a standard photograph. The connection between color and significant life events is what I call "energetic landmarks," this is important because if we can observe who we are in these moments, we can learn about what's important and hopefully use that information to make informed choices.

a girl posing for a portrait.
Image courtesy of Radiant Human

2. How has Radiant Human evolved since its founding?

In the beginning, aura photography was extremely niche. My biggest challenge was explaining how the camera worked and why it was important. Now, my biggest challenge is being in two places at once!

4. How can someone get involved with Radiant Human events?

Instagram is a great way to be involved. I also have a mailing list I only use about once a month to alert people of my tours and special releases, which is the best way to reach me. And then, of course, my website!

5. What is the future of Radiant Human?

To celebrate my 10-year anniversary of starting Radiant Human, I am going on a big tour up and down the West Coast during the month of July. Once I release my availability, you can reserve an appointment to sit with me. I'm also reissuing some posters I did in collaboration with The Whitney Museum of American Art and Flavor Paper. They are stunning little portals of effervescent energy, and I can't wait for you to see them!

A woman posing for a portrait.
Image courtesy of Radiant Human


R. Paschotta, article on "Photonics" in the RP Photonics Encyclopedia, retrieved 2024-06-01,


Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my blog! Please reach out if you have any ideas for content, partnerships, and more!

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