Rose-Lynn Fisher has found a fascinating world of differences inside the tears we weep—be they from joy, frustration, grief, or cutting into a pungent onion.

In the tradition of Eadweard Muybridge‘s high-speed shots of everyday movements…

Eadweard Muybridge (c. 1883)
Eadweard Muybridge (c. 1883)

—which startled the public upon release…or Wilson Bentley‘s fabulous snowflake photography, prior to which scientists assumed most snowflakes were probably alike––

Wilson Bentley (c. 1902)
Wilson Bentley (c. 1902)

…Fisher uses the seemingly clinical eye of her microscope and camera to capture the surprising nuances of daily existence.

She’s found that among the 100 different tear samples collected and analyzed, the chemical makeup and appearance shift with every situation and reason…

…”Tears of grief”:

Rose-Lynn Fisher
Rose-Lynn Fisher

…”Tears of laughing till I’m crying”:

Rose-Lynn Fisher
Rose-Lynn Fisher

…”Onion tears”:

Rose-Lynn Fisher
Rose-Lynn Fisher

…”Tears of elation at a liminal moment”:

Rose-Lynn Fisher
Rose-Lynn Fisher

The microcosmic abstractions are gorgeous on their own, but paired with the artist’s strangely poetic descriptions of the fleeting moment when the tear sample fell, the project starts to evoke a larger sense of transience, the unpredictable and the unseen.

Read more about The Topography of Tears at the artist’s website.

Sinnae Choi

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