On Friday, April 12th my friend Elaina and I went to get Aura portraits done. We booked the appointments in March and I was so excited. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years and years, but the booking is usually far enough out that I can never commit, but this year I made sure it happened. It should be no surprise to many that I LOVE a good niche photograph. Whether it be the span of all types of polaroid (I probably have several dozen polaroid cameras), photobooths, that heat set receipt printed camera I got for the kids recently, and next up is hopefully a vintage style gelatin or tin type photo that I’ve been wanting to do since I was taking photography classes in college.
Naturally it was HOT, humid and raining Friday, and we had to park blocks away. So much for curling my hair.
When we got to the space, I heard a bit of the reading for the person who had their portrait done right before ours and thought “I should ask if I can record the audio of her explaining what the colors meant specifically for my portrait.” Then when it was time to go it was just bam, bam, bam and next thing I know it wasn’t until she’s almost done with mine that I remembered that I wanted to record it. I will not remember a thing she said (thanks adhd) fortunately the picture came with a card that maps out locations of the picture and breaks down what the colors mean. I will say it felt very rushed, and because I had come with a friend she even grouped us together (the appointments are all scheduled for 10 minutes, back to back). She didn’t ask us if we would mind having our readings done together, she just told us, which at the time I was trying to be agreeable and said “Sure, of course”, but upon reflection I think it wasn’t very appropriate. We had separate appointments and got separate pictures. They offer group appointments, but we had our own individual times but our readings were done together anyway, oh well.
I was a little bummed when I saw my picture and realized I was out of focus, I sat exactly where she told me to sit, but apparently I must have been back on the stool far enough that I was just out of the very shallow depth of field set on the camera. Folks who don’t have any history or experience with photography might not even notice, but I did. Elaina’s was better, but also you can see she was leaning more towards the camera. Once seated she quickly explained about the hand sensors that read your energy and placed it on my lap. The moment I had my hands in place I realized I didn’t have free hands to adjust hair or my clothing and prep for the picture.
Here’s the thing, these pictures are taken with color peel apart polaroid or fuji pack film (I believe) which has been discontinued (the color ones) and is no longer being produced. The film is VERY limited and VERY expensive. There’s no do overs.
Overall, even though there were a few bummers about the experience, I am still glad I did it. I had been wanting to do it for years, I drove into the city and had a good day, met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in forever, and we hit up a photobooth in the neighborhood and did a little shopping. I need to go into the city more often, I couldn’t remember the last time I drove in solo.
The photobooth at Empty Bottle is a vintage booth with a digital setup (guts). It took cards, so each photo strip came in color and black and white. In the past I would have been so bummed that it was a digital booth, but during the pandemic I decided that beggars can’t be choosers and if you find a dang photobooth, use it!