During a period of personal change, Los Angeles-based photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher found herself wondering whether tears of joy and tears of sadness were the same. The query sparked a creative project, entitled “The Topography of Tears,” one that had some spectacular results.
Fisher's series examined 100 tears using a Zeiss microscope. When these images are enlarged, they reveal that tears have an intricate construction, often resembling topographical maps. She soon discovered that her happy tears did differ from her sad tears.
“Tears are the medium of our most primal language in moments as unrelenting as death, as basic as hunger, and as complex as a rite of passage. They are evidence of our inner life overflowing its boundaries, spilling over into consciousness… It’s as though each one of our tears carries a microcosm of the collective human experience, like one drop of an ocean,” the artist said.