Overview of six tears from six different people.
Please read the new updated and extended version of this article here: https://medium.com/micrograph-stories/the-journy-of-imaginarium-of-tears-5f70c8fb6f53

Photographs that reveal the true beauty of tears.

We all need to cry sometimes, scientifically tears are divided into three different types based on their origin. Basal tears, reflex tears or emotional tears. We are all familiar with these ways of crying, but how do they look microscopically? Is there any difference? Science says that every tear has a different viscosity and composition. All tears contain a variety of biological substances including oils, antibodies and enzymes suspended in salt water. But how does this relate to the “real world”.

Because of these questions I decided to start an evening of experimenting with my close friends. I asked them to come over and pick a way they would like to cry from. The options they could voluntarily choose from where: cutting onions, eat hot peppers, look in to a fan or cry because of sadness or happiness. To see if there was a resemblance or difference in the structure of forming tears, I took images of every tear drop under the microscope.

A relatively simple and fun proces, first you capture the tear with a micropipet. After you have the tear you dispense it on too a microscopic slide by making several small (2–4 mm) drops. After this step it takes some time to crystalize and settle. After the tear drop(s) are crystallised it’s possible to take images and start comparing.

The structures seen under the microscope and in the images are largely crystallized salt, the circumstances under which the tear dries can lead to radically dissimilar shapes and formations, so two psychic tears with the exact same chemical makeup can look very different up close.

The results

So I think its safe too say that the differences in tears that are seen are not showing differences between the origins of crying, but just show a composition of the tear it self and the circumstances it crystallised in. Never the less they are beautiful to look at.

Reflex tear: This tear is harvested after cutting white onions.
Reflex tear: This tear is harvested after cutting white onions.
Reflex tear: This tear is harvested after cutting white onions.
Reflex tear: This tear is harvested after cutting white onions.
Psychic tear: This tear is harvested after an emotional response.
Reflex tear: This tear is harvested after cutting white onions and eating a red pepper.
Psychic tear: This tear is harvested after an emotional response.
Basal tear: This tear is harvested after looking in to a ventilator and being happy / smiling.
Reflex tear: This tear is harvested after cutting white onions and eating a red pepper.
Reflex tear: This tear is harvested after cutting white onions.
Psychic tear: This tear is harvested after an emotional response.
Basal tears: This tear is harvested after looking in to a fan for a few minutes.
Psychic tear: This tear is harvested after an emotional response.
Reflex tear: This tear is harvested after eating a red pepper.
Psychic tear: This tear is harvested after an emotional response.
Basal tears: This tear is harvested after looking in to a fan for a few minutes.
Reflex tear: This tear is harvested after cutting white onions.
Reflex tear: This tear is harvested after eating a mini red chili pepper.
Psychic tear: This tear is harvested after an emotional response.
Reflex tear: This tear is harvested after crying from high dosed menthol oil on eyelid.
Psychic tear: This tear is harvested after an emotional response.
Basal tear: This tear is harvested after looking in to a ventilator.
Basal tears: This tear is harvested after looking in to a fan for a few minutes.
Basal tears: This tear is harvested after looking in to a fan for a few minutes.
Reflex tear: This tear is harvested after cutting white onions.
Reflex tear: This tear is harvested after cutting white onions.
Reflex tear: This tear is harvested after cutting white onions, putting pepper in the eyes, snorting water and eating a red pepper.
Reflex tear: This tear is harvested after cutting white onions.

Work in progress:

In the future I will be trying to expand these series with several new images of other volunteers. Even if there is no scientifically difference, value or information generated out of it. For me this project is all about showing the volunteers the beauty of their own tears thought the look of a microscope. To do this more consistently, I would love to get my hands on a even better microscope so that the images would have less chromatic aberration, better detail and less color differences in the tears.

It would be great if one day I would be able too share this experience live with you during a local exposition. An exposition where you as a volunteer can donate a tear, a tear that would be added to the collection of tears that will travel the world.

Or maybe even more crazy to capture the tears of our biggest world leaders, and see how their tears look, cause after all there human too.


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Please read the new updated and extended version of this article here: https://medium.com/micrograph-stories/the-journy-of-imaginarium-of-tears-5f70c8fb6f53