Kirlian photography is a technique for creating contact print photographs using high voltage. The process entails placing sheet photographic film on top of a metal discharge plate. The object to be photographed is then placed directly on top of the film. High voltage is momentarily applied to the metal plate, thus creating an exposure. The corona discharge between the object and the high-voltage plate is captured by the film. The developed film results in a Kirlian photograph of the object.
Kirlian believed that images created by his technique might depict a conjectural energy field or aura, that surrounds all living things. Kirlian and his wife were convinced that their images showed a life force or energy field that reflected the physical and emotional states of their living subjects. They thought that these images could be used to diagnose illnesses.