Articles · Photo

The Topography of Tears

tears of laughing till i'm crying

When photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher was going through a particularly difficult time in her life, as she said “a time of personal change, loss, and copious tears”, she began to wonder if her tears of sadness looked any different than tears brought on by other emotions. That’s where this project, The Topography of Tears, originated; Rose-Lynn photographed tears through an optical microscope and amazingly, the tears all looked different. They were one of a kind, almost like snowflakes. And years later, she has expanded and taken photos of other peoples’ tears as well: tears of elation, sorrow, joy, tears from frustration and rejection, from onions and tears from yawning.

Rose-Lynn writes, “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 the evidence of our inner life overflowing its boundaries, spilling over into consciousness. Wordless and spontaneous, they release us to the possibility of realignment, reunion, catharsis: shedding tears, shedding old skin. It’s as though each one of our tears carries a microcosm of the collective human experience, like one drop of an ocean.”

Scroll down to see more of her beautiful photos.

tears of release
Tears of release
tears of timeless reunion
Tears of timeless reunion
tears of onions
Tears from onions
tears of laughing till i'm crying
Tears of laughing until crying
tears of grief
Tears of grief
tears of change
Tears of change



The Topography of Tears, the book, will be available on May 2. Rose-Lynn will be at two book signings in Los Angeles in May. See her website here.


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