Babs Decruyenaere has experimented for some time with camera obscura techniques. After a period spent working with salt crystals, having had a bad day and a good cry, Decruyenaere captured a tear on a glass slide. Knowing that the tear would contain salt, she exposed and developed the dried-up tear.
Photography: Babs Decruyenaere

The first image was so beautiful that she decided to capture every subsequent cry on a glass slide and let it dry. Decruyenaere: “It was trial and error: sometimes the tear crystallised really beautifully and sometimes not at all. It wasn’t clear to me which factors were responsible for the way the tear would crystallise, but that didn’t concern me. For me it’s more about the image, I’m not conducting scientific research. Because of the quick drying and eventual evaporation of the tear, the trick was to develop the image quickly during the brief moment that the crystallisation was at its most beautiful.”

The work Emotional Remnants is a collection of twenty images of crystallised tears – tears of joy, pain, sadness and beauty – as literal, abstract and poetic representations of Decruyenaere’s most intimate feelings.