Kirlian photography is a technique for creating contact prints by electrically charging, ionizing the air around an object, pioneered by Russian electrical engineer Semyon Kirlian and his wife Valentina in the early -twentieth century.  The artist has rebuilt a Kirlian camera after much hard-won research and modified it from being an analog film based/high energy electrical system to encompass a CCD sensor, rather than traditional film of the cameras of old.

The Kirlian photographs shown here are of plants from the Wollemi Wilderness, a remote and mysterious region within the northern part of the greater Blue Mountains World Heritage on Wiradjuri country, that shelters the elusive Wollemi Pine, a species known only through fossil records until it was discovered in 1994 by David Noble a canyoner and renowned explorer of remote areas.

The photographs, with their connection to ‘spirit photography’ specifically notions of an aura or life force, are intended to evoke a range of associations – fantastical and grounded.  These images emerge from high voltage electrical fields upscaled from 12 volts to thousands of volts and utilize a saline filled capacitance plate.


David Haines lives and works in the Blue Mountains, Australia. Haines has produced works for museums, festivals and galleries in Australia and internationally including Anderson Gallery, UC Buffalo, USA (2017); Resonances Magnetique, La Panacee Centre for Contemporary Art, Montpellier, France (2016); Energies: Haines & Hinterding, MCA, Sydney (2015) and Christchurch Art Gallery, NZ (2016);  Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne (2015); La Panacee Centre for Contemporary Art, France (2014); Dutch Institute of Time-based Arts; Taipei MOCA; Kuandu Museum of Fine Art; San Jose Museum of Art; Art Gallery of NSW; Wellington City Gallery; Dunedin Public Art Gallery; Gallery of Modern Art Queensland; Sendai Media Tech, Japan; FACT Liverpool England; Sao Paulo Biennale (2004); Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art (2004); Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2003);  13th Biennale of Sydney (2002); Scott Donovan Gallery, Sydney (2002); Te Papa National Museum of NZ (2002); ACMI, Melbourne (2002 & 2003); The Physics Room, NZ (1998); Artspace Sydney (1997 & 2005); ZA MOCA Foundation Tokyo (1996); Artspace, Auckland; Tate Gallery Liverpool (1993).

The Wollemi Kirlians, 2014
24 framed photographs
Dimensions: 297 x 420 mm each

Courtesy of the artist and Sarah Cottier Gallery.