The Topography of Tears

128 pages

Trade Paper

List Price US $19.99
ISBN: 9781942658283


List Price US $19.99
ISBN: 9781942658290

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“[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

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“Looking at [Fisher’s] photographs feels like staring out a plane window at the passing landscape below.”

Studio 360

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“A moving depiction of the micro and macro aspects of our emotional lives, and a beautiful means of integrating the often separate realms of science and art.”


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“An extraordinary take on an otherwise mundane human response.”

Medical Daily

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Good Men Project

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“Reveals the existence of a multitude of territories inside of us.”

Palais de Tokyo curator Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel

“Stunning photographs transport us to a previously unseen world. . . . [They] also invoke within us a new set of emotions as individual as each of its viewers. What a pleasure.”

William H. Frey II, PhD, founder and senior research director of HealthPartners Neurosciences and coauthor of Crying: The Mystery of Tears (from the foreword)

Does a tear shed while chopping onions look different from a tear of happiness? In this powerful collection of images, Rose-Lynn Fisher, 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.

Foreword contributor William H. Frey II, PhD is the Founder and Senior Research Director of HealthPartners Neurosciences, faculty member in the Neuroscience Program at the University of Minnesota, and coauthor of Crying: The Mystery of Tears.

Foreword contributor Ann Lauterbach is a poet, essayist, and Ruth and David Schwab professor of languages and literature at Bard College. Her most recent poetry collections include If in Time: Selected Poems 1975-2000, Or to Begin Again, finalist for the National Book Award, and Under the Sign.

Excerpt from The Topography of Tears

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View slideshows from Rose-Lynn Fisher’s The Topography of Tears project in the New Yorker and TIME for Kids, and photo essays from the series on WNYC’s Studio 360 and in Smithsonian magazine.

Read more about The Topography of Tears project in Wired, Broadly, Gizmodo, and Medical Daily.

Read about Darquer’s “Tears and Lace” haute couture line, inspired by The Topography of Tears project, at Lingerie Francaise.