kirlian imaging

Table of Contents

Documentation from the Kirlian imaging open workshops March/April 2009

Apparatus and construction notes


  • HV supply

    The necessary pulsed high frequency, high voltage (in excess of 4 KV) was constructed based around the circuit diagram at:


    [above site is down - now see: http://www.sentex.ca/~mec1995/circ/hv/kirlian/kirlian.html ]

    The 120V supply and 12V transformer circuitry in the top left was replaced with a 12V PSU (2A), and the double gang potentiometer by two potentiometers. The 5 Ohm 10 Watt resistor was replaced with a connection to GROUND. A 100 nF capacitor in series with a 10K resistor was also place across the inputs to the car ignition coil to protect the 555 timer. The coil was from an unidentified vehicle.

    Advice also followed from:


    The circuit was breadboarded as in testing stages the 555 timer was easily destroyed. The circuit can easily be tested by listening for a highish frequency, altered in pitch by the two potentiometers, running through the coils.

  • Two methods

    In both cases an object (plant leaf, rock, finger) is seperated by 0.2 to 1mm thick dialectric - non conducting material from a conductive plate with HV applied. Inanimate objects should be earthed with a cable to the GROUND of the power supply or a grounded copper pipe. People are already sufficiently grounded by capacitance through rubber-soled shoes. Do not connect the person to ground or use bare-footed.A tingling sensation will be felt by the person.

    • 1] Using polaroid instant film in a dark box/cabinet.

      The HV supply detailed above was attached to a copper PCB (Printefd Circuit Board) which has copper on one surface of the fibre laminate. The board was placed face down in a light-tight black cardboard box which allowed entry for two hands. The film pack (Fuji Instant Colour Film FP100C) was placed inside the box along with a pair of Polaroid rollers from an instant film camera. In darkness, in the light-tight box, the film was taken out of the holder and one sheet of the negative (dark brown) placed on the non-copper side of the plate. The object, in this case a finger, would sit on top of this film whilst the HV supply is switched on for 2 to 10 seconds. After this, the negative was placed on top of the positive side of the polaroid film and the side with chemistry nearest was pulled through the rollers to begin development. The film sandwich was then removed from the box and developed for two minutes. The sandwich was then pulled apart to reveal the print. It's worth experimenting with an older polaroid pack in the light to familiarise with the sides of the film and the process.

    • 2] Through glass or perspex

      In this case rather than using a copper high voltage plate, a conductive transparent medium was used. In this case salt water was sandwiched between a sheet of clear perspex and a sheet of overhead projector foil (also transparent) suspended in a dish of salt water. Plenty of salt was first dissolved in the water and this was poured into the tray. The sandwich of perspec and foil was then placed in the dish of salt water and salt water was poured slowly between the two, as the sandwich was slowly closed. This was hung with a clamp from a wooden frame hastily constructed. The object to be photographed was placed or taped to the foil side (facing away from the camera), the HV supply was wired into the salt water dish and a digital or analogue photo exposed while the HV supply was switched on for around 2 to 10 seconds. For best results to apparatus should be used in relative darkness but the advantage here is that the setup can be secured and arranged in the light.


the conversion of nonelectrical properties of the object being photographed into electrical ones… with a direct transfer of charges from the object to the photographic plate.

[Kirlian and Kirlian, 1961]

Kirlian photography effects a transition or translation, a series of exchanges which are subject to varying, over-determined interpretations. Photographic emulsions and imaging techniques are explicitly opened to the electromagnetic, acting as a medium for another form of perception, an exchange primarily between biologic systems and presencing or bringing to light.


Using the polaroid method:



Using the transparency method:

High voltage tape recording


To all who took part in the first and second openkirlian workshops. All images credited to Erik Mitjans and _____.

Author: root <m@1010.co.uk>

Date: 2011-08-15 20:18:02 BST

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