This thing is fascinating:
It’s very similar to this:
And they’re both closely related to this:
All three pictures show tears, magnified to hundreds or thousands of times their size. Photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher began the project in 2010 during a time of change and loss when she had ‘a surplus of raw material’ for studying tears. After seeing the amazing structures in her own tears, she began to wonder whether tears that are shed for different reasons would look different at a micro level. Turns out: yes! In order from top to bottom, the photos above show:
- Tears of grief, part of a sub-category of psychic tears that are in response to joy, grief, laughter, sadness, etc.
- Onion tears, part of a sub-category of reflex tears that come in response to physical irritation like onions or dust.
- Basal tears, which are constantly created to keep the eye lubricated
This project fascinates me by showing that things which are superficially identical have fundimental (and beautiful!) differences, which is a lesson one could apply to almost anything (though it would be unacceptably corny to do so).