Crying is our most primal instinct. It’s the first thing we do when we are born: releasing an extraordinary amount of emotion in a very unique way. Tears are the unique accompaniment of this instinct, something purely human. They are spontaneous, they are difficult to control, and undeniable proof of the human emotion. Yet we know that tears don’t always come about for the same reasons. We can shed tears during a time of intense happiness or intense sorrow. Rose-Lynn Fisher was provoked in a time of loss to photograph her tears and wondered if they would visually look different from tears of joy. She magnified her tears, and those of many others, to create visual representations of the human experience.

She went on to gather 100 depictions of tears, produced “from elation to onions, as well as sorrow, frustration, rejection, resolution, laughing, yawning, birth and rebirth, and many more, each a tiny history,” she writes.

Usually, intense feelings are provoked. They may have been moving slowly along one path, in a state of calm, before coming into contact with an opposing force. Like the Earth’s tectonic plates, a divide between what one expects and what occurs will provoke an overflow or a crushing momentum of the stronger force over the weaker. The emotions that result pair with tears that likewise convey a “a sense of place, like aerial views of emotional terrain” Fisher writes.

“The topography of tears is a momentary landscape, transient as the fingerprint of someone in a dream. This series ls like an ephemeral atlas. Roaming microscopic vistas, I marvel at the visual similarities between micro and macro realms, how the patterning of nature seems so consistent, regardless of scale. Patterns of erosion etched into earth over millions of years may look quite similar to the branched crystalline patterns of an evaporated tear that took less than a minute to occur.” Rose-Lynn Fisher



Tears of Hope

Tears of Grief

Tears of Grief


Tears of Beginning and End

fisher timelessreunion

Tears of Timeless Reunion

All images are owned by Rose-Lynn Fisher. See more of her work on her website here.