Examining Tears Under a Microscope Will Totally Change How You Look at Emotions (Pictures)

Rose-Lynn Fisher is a world-class photographer. Back in 2008, she was going through a particularly rough time- she had recently lost a number of people who were close to her, and had been doing a lot of crying.

One day while weeping, Fisher stopped herself from wiping the tears away and instead examined them closely. It gave her an idea: what would you see if you put tears under a microscope? Would they all look the same?

“You know that classic science experiment where they show us all the life that’s present in one drop of pond water? Well I wanted to find out what was present in one tear.”

Tears of ending or beginning

When Fisher examined her first tears she was surprised to see that on the microscopic level, the tears looked like aerial images, with the water, proteins, enzymes and other structures within the tear organizing into almost alien-like landscapes.

Fisher continued to collect tear samples, eventually collecting multiple samples of the three types of tears: basal or lubricating tears, reflex tears, which are secreted in response to irritants like onions, and the tears we release when we weep.

Check out more pictures of her tear samples below. Click an image to enlarge it and see what emotions produced the pattern.

Fisher is curious as to whether these landscapes within our tears could be almost a sort of map of the emotion that spurred the crying in the first place. While she stresses that she is not approaching the project as a scientist, Fisher is,

“still interested in asking questions through my visual exploration.”

Read more from Wired here. All images courtesy of Rose-Lynn Fisher.

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