The Topography of Tears is a study of 100 tears photographed through a standard light microscope by Rose –Lynn Fisher.
Rose explains ‘The project began in a period of personal change, loss, and copious tears. One day I wondered if my tears of grief would look any different from my tears of happiness – and I set out to explore them up close, using tools of science to make art and to ponder personal and aesthetic questions.’
This series includes a wide range of tears from Rose herself and others, showing tears of sorrow, frustration, rejection, happiness, tiredness and much more. Each tear shows a tiny part of someone’s history and emotion.
We found this study fascinating. A simple concept that seems so obvious, it looks like our tears have personalities that mirror our moods. Every change of mood reflects a different formation in our tears. We can’t believe how beautiful the images are and the patterns created, each unique to that one emotion felt at that time.
Of course there is a scientific reason behind why our tears are different. There are different types : basal (lubricating), reflex (responding to stimuli) and psychic (triggered by emotion). Each of our tears contain different substances , and the makeup of these depend on what type of tear is produced. For example, our emotional tears contain the neurotransmitter leucine enkephalin, which is a natural painkiller that the body releases to relieve stress, but tears caused by the same reason might look different once they have crystallized. “There are so many variables — there’s the chemistry, the viscosity, the setting, the evaporation rate and the settings of the microscope,” Fisher said.