Tears
For my Digital Storytelling class at CU Denver I chose the focal theme of grief. The variety of emotions entrenched in grief and that are born of grief led me to critique The Microscopic Structure of Dried Human Tears by Joseph Stromberg.

The Microscopic Structure of Dried Human Tears, explains and evaluates a fascinating set images of human tears produced under different emotions ranging from joyful reunions, to loss, and even onion-induced tears by photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher. She collected and photographed more than 100 tear samples from both herself and volunteers. The variety of results were astonishing.

I will be critiquing this story by Joseph Stromberg based upon three traits from the Lankshear and Knobel’s Appendix: Some popular everyday remix practices.

  1. Expressing a journalistic identity—having something to say that appeals to others
  2. Expressing an identity as an artist—being able to write
  3. Developing artistic skills—developing a personal “style” that is nonetheless in keeping with the original texts/images

Expressing a journalistic identity—having something to say that appeals to others

Most often tears indicate sadness, which is why this article caught my eye. As I read more of Stromberg’s work, I realized all the emotions captured in Fisher’s photographs were feelings I have experienced. I also learned that each tear carries its own unique story. Stromberg’s expression of his journalist identity appealed to my humanity and appreciation for the complexity of our design.

Expressing an identity as an artist—being able to write

Stromberg eloquently weaves together the science behind emotions. He remixes the photographed images into a story that begins with creating context around Fisher’s identity. After Stromberg explains Fisher’s artistic portfolio and how her idea of the pictures emerged, he writes about the science behind the images. Stromberg elaborates on the tear samples, the scanning electron microscope, different types of tears, and hormones in the tears. The story culminates on patterns that emerged and how they reflected the larger world. Stromberg absolutely expresses his identity as an excellent writer.

Developing artistic skills—developing a personal “style” that is nonetheless in keeping with the original texts/images

In this story, Stromberg showcases his artistry as a journalist by digging up interesting facts about Fisher’s original vision and images. He quotes her beautiful analogy of tears as being, “aerial views of emotion terrain.” He further quotes her insight that, “it’s as though each one of our tears carries a microcosm of the collective human experience, like one drop of an ocean.”