Semyon Davidovich Kirlian was a Russian inventor and researcher of Armenian descent, who along with his wife Valentina Khrisanovna Kirlian, a teacher and journalist, discovered and developed Kirlian Photography.
Kirlian was born in Yekaterinodar, now Krasnodar, Russia of Armenian descent. He possessed an early interest in, and aptitude for, work with electricity. Just before the Russian Revolution of 1917, Kirlian attended a conference in his home city at which Nikola Tesla gave talks and demonstrations; Tesla was one of Kirlian‘s predecessors in the field of corona discharge photography. In the 1930s Kirlian earned his living as an electrician in Krasnodar, near the eastern coast of the Black Sea in southern Russia—then the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, part of the Soviet Union. He married Valentina Khrisanovna in 1930.