Lessons from a microscopic world

This thing is fascinating:

A magnified crystalline structure with rough cubic angles that appear to be rigid, yet somewhat decayed

It’s very similar to this:

A rigid crystalline structure with snowflake or fractal geometry

And they’re both closely related to this:

A plane divided horizontally through the middle by a wide, shallow crack with sparse, forking rivulets above and many rivulets below

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).


2 thoughts on “Lessons from a microscopic world

  1. julie says:

    It looks to me as if the onion tears are trying to have as large a surface as possible – possibly to mop up the irritants. Basal tears are smooth, to coat the surface, and the emotional ones are “torn” versions of basal tears – as our emotions are torn to create them??

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s