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PHOTOS: Looking at Tears Under a Microscope Reveals Something Amazing We Never Expected

2 months ago

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It turns out tears stemming from different emotions look totally different under a microscope! Above are tears of happiness during a transition, like breaking up with a crappy person, on the left, and tears of remembrance on the right. All photos are from Rose-Lynn Fisher's 'The Topography of Tears.'

Tears are an expression that sprout from a broad range of emotions — from sorrow, to joy, to because of this damn commercial:

But are different tears chemically distinct, or are they all made of the same salty stuff?

“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,” explains researcher Rose-Lynn Fisher on her website.

Thus, The Topography of Tears was born — a study of 100 tears photographed through a standard light microscope.

“The project began in a period of personal change, loss, and copious tears,” says Fisher. “The random compositions I find in magnified tears often evoke a sense of place, like aerial views of emotional terrain.”

Her tears revealed something amazing: that emotions alter the chemistry of water, hormones, minerals and other compounds when we cry.

So different kinds of tears are, in fact, made of different (amounts of) stuff.

These photographs are both beautiful and, at times, unsurprisingly kind of sad.

Tears of laughter (left), watery eye tears, like from cutting an onion (right).

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Tears of change.

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Tears of sorrow.

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Tears of happiness during a transitional period. Like if you just got the job of your dreams, or left a sucky boyfriend/girlfriend (left), tears of remembrance (right).

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Tears of ending and beginning.

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Tears of an unexpected twist, like you just dropped a cupcake frosting-side-down (left), tears of relief (right).

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Tears of a reunion.

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Tears of possibility and hope.

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RYOT NOTE from Ben

 Photography is so powerful because of its ability to arouse a wide array of emotions.  The World Lens Foundation is helping to preserve that power by introducing children to the art of visual storytelling while uniquely connecting students, teachers and the global audience through our virtual classroom.  Click the Action Box above this story to learn more, and share this story to Become the News!

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PHOTOS: Looking at Tears Under a Microscope Reveals Something Amazing We Never Expected

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