“When you first view Rose-Lynn Fisher’s photographs, you might think you’re looking down at the world from an airplane, at dunes, skyscrapers or shorelines. In fact, you’re looking at her tears. . . . [There’s] poetry in the idea that our emotional terrain bears visual resemblance to the physical world; that our tears can look like the vistas we see out an airplane window. Fisher’s images are the only remaining trace of these places, which exist during a moment of intense feeling—and then vanish.” —NPR
“[A] delicate, intimate book. . . . In The Topography of Tears photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher shows us a place where language strains to express grief, longing, pride, frustration, joy, the confrontation with something beautiful, the confrontation with an onion.” —Boston Globe
Does a tear shed while chopping onions look different from a tear of happiness? In this powerful collection of images, an award-winning photographer trains her optical microscope and camera on her own tears and those of men, women, and children, released in moments of grief, pain, gratitude, and joy, and captured upon glass slides. These duotone photographs reveal the beauty of recurring patterns in nature and present evocative, crystalline imagery for contemplation. Underscored by poetic captions, they translate the mysterious act of crying into an atlas mapping the structure and magnificence of our interior lives.
Rose-Lynn Fisher is an artist and author of the International Photography Award-winning studies Bee and The Topography of Tears. Her photographs are exhibited in galleries, festivals, and museums across the world and have been featured by the Dr. Oz Show, NPR, Smithsonian, Harper’s, New Yorker, Time, Wired, Reader’s Digest, Discover, Brain Pickings, and elsewhere. She received her BFA from Otis Art Institute and lives in Los Angeles.