R O S E - L Y N N   F I S H E R    
  The Topography of Tears

The Topography of Tears is a study, and now a book, of tears that were photographed through an optical microscope. The project began in 2008 during 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 contemplate personal and aesthetic questions.

Years later, this series comprises a wide range of my own and others’ tears, from elation to onions, as well as sorrow, frustration, rejection, resolution, laughing, yawning, birth and rebirth, and many more, each a tiny history.

The random compositions I find in magnified tears often evoke a sense of place, like aerial views of emotional terrain. Although the empirical nature of tears is a chemistry of water, proteins, minerals, hormones, antibodies and enzymes, the topography of tears is a momentary landscape, transient as the fingerprint of someone in a dream. This series is 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.

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.

I’m pleased if my artwork has something to add to a larger conversation, and if public interest helps motivate scientific inquiry that ultimately leads to deeper insight about the language and content of our tears. Then it's the best meeting of art and science. I'm not making any scientific claims in my work though, nor any declarations about anything except perhaps the poetry of life.

© Rose-Lynn Fisher 2013-2017



Links to Selected Press
Online, Print & Blogs:


DARQUER Dentelle de Calais

Boston Globe

B+W Photography (UK)

BBC Taster (online)

TiP - Balmond Studio (UK)

Sabato (Belgium)

Culturebox - FranceTV Info

Madame Le Figaro (France)

Die Welt (Germany)

Polka Magazine (France)


The New Yorker

Smithsonian Magazine

Harper's Magazine

PBS Nova Next Week

Observatoire de L'Art Contemporain (France)

Zeit Wissen Magazine (Germany)


De Gids (Netherlands)

Delo (Slovenia)

El Mundo (Spain)

Psychologie Heute (Germany)

National Geographic (Hungary)

Balthazare Magazine (France)

Fantastic Man (NL/UK)


Studio 360

De Redactie (Belgium)

Crikey (Australia)

Men's Health (Australia)

In Vivo Magazine (Switzerland)

Esquire, Russia

Design Observer


The Guardian (UK)

The Telegraph (UK)

Metro World News

Metro News Puerto Rico

Metro Nieuws (NL)

YLE News (Finland)

Garbo (Romania)

O Globo (Brazil)

Psychologies Magazine (France)

TIME for Kids

Popcorn (France)

Tout Comprendre (France)

National Geographic Kids:
Weird But True

Illustreret Videnskab /Science Illustrated (Scandinavia)

Medical Daily

Ignite Channel

The Paris Review

Milano Free (Italy)

Galileo (Italy)

Caffeinamagazine (Italy)

Spaghetti Mag. (Italy)

Artinfinit (Moldova)


PBS Nova blog

MSNBC Maddow blog/Geek

Popular Science blog

Scientific American blog

The Daily Meal

Times of Malta



Lost at E Minor



Design Catwalk

La boite verte (France)

Linkiesta (Italy)

Lifo (Greece)

20 Minutos (Spain)

ABC (Spain)

Dan Tri (Vietnam)

La Nacion (Argentina)

YCWB (China)

The Good Men Project



Kindred Subjects

John Culbert - Geometry of tears

La/crime/ndays, by G.Iorio



The Topography of Tears

images / text © Rose-Lynn Fisher 2008-2017 all rights reserved

Laughing till I'm crying © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher

Tears of change © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher

Tears of grief © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher

After the sun came the tears © 2016 Rose-Lynn Fisher

Watering eyes: a micro climate © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher

Tears of timeless reunion © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher

Tears of ending and beginning © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher

Tears for those who yearn for liberation © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher

Tears of release © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher

Tears of possibility and hope © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher

Tears of elation at a liminal moment © 2013 Rose-Lynn Fisher

The Topography of Tears will be available May 2, 2017!
by Bellevue Literary Press
link to BLPress

If you're interested in receiving future notifications please send a note to: topographyoftears@gmail.com

Pre-orders are available.

WEDS, MAY 24, 7pm at BOOK SOUP link

Many thanks and best wishes from Rose-Lynn