Modern advancements in imaging devices have enabled us to explore the subcellular structure of living organisms and extract vast amounts of information. However, interpreting the biological information mined in the captured images is not a trivial task. Utilizing predetermined numerical features is usually the only hope for quantifying this information. Nonetheless, direct visual or biological interpretation of results obtained from these selected features is non-intuitive and difficult. In this paper, we describe an automatic method for modeling visual variations in a set of images, which allows for direct visual interpretation of the most significant differences, without the need for predefined features. The method is based on a linearized version of the continuous optimal transport (OT) metric, which provides a natural linear embedding for the image data set, in which linear combination of images leads to a visually meaningful image. This enables us to apply linear geometric data analysis techniques such as principal component analysis and linear discriminant analysis in the linearly embedded space and visualize the most prominent modes, as well as the most discriminant modes of variations, in the dataset. Using the continuous OT framework, we are able to analyze variations in shape and texture in a set of images utilizing each image at full resolution, that otherwise cannot be done by existing methods. The proposed method is applied to a set of nuclei images segmented from Feulgen stained liver tissues in order to investigate the major visual differences in chromatin distribution of Fetal-Type Hepatoblastoma (FHB) cells compared to the normal cells.