When I first saw The Karate Kid, I wasn't yet old enough to understand what was happening in Johnny's toilet stall. But this is one of those movies you can watch over and over and extract some new meaning every time. It's a classic--a classic coming-of-age story, a classic bullied-confronting-bully tale, and a classic story about a boy and his mentor. Maybe that's what inspired a couple of producers to raid the chest of classic 80s films and slap the name The Karate Kid on a completely unnecessary new version. The movie isn't out yet, but the trailers are all over the web and, well, this is about principle.
Writer Jess Hemerly is currently a graduate student at UC Berkeley's School of Information. Photographer Jonathan Koshi is a designer in San Francisco.
In 1992, a man named Guy Coggins combined Kirlian photography with biofeedback and introduced Aura Imaging photography. He began selling cameras through his Redwood City company, Progen, and according to the company's FAQ, there are only about 250 owners of these in the US. One of the owners is in San Francisco's Japantown. You'd miss it if you didn't know what to look for. It's a small gift shop called Sharaku across from the plaza, filled with Japanese textiles, figurines, and replica instruments. The only clue that something else goes on in this shop are yellowed, letter-sized, photocopied signs on the window advertising aura photography. But for $15 (plus tax) the old lady who runs the shop will reluctantly take you into the back, set up her Biofeedback Imaging Color Spectrometer 3000, and photograph your aura. And yes, that is quite a profit margin. According to the camera company's site, the cost per photo is about $3.30 (including film and "functional warranty replacement" charge).
A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine decided that getting his aura photographed would be the perfect way to say goodbye to 2009 and invited my husband-to-be and I to join.