October 15, 2010

Oliver Sacks: The Island of the Colorblind

But the Eden of lost childhood, childhood imagined, became transformed by some legerdemain of the unconscious to an Eden of the remote past, a magical “once,” rendered wholly benign by the omission, the editing out, of all change, all movement. For there was a peculiar static, pictorial quality in these dreams, with at most a slight wind rustling the trees or rippling the water. They neither evolved nor changed, nothing ever happened in them; they were encapsulated as in amber. Nor was I myself, I think, ever present in these scenes, but gazed on them as one gazes at a […]
September 22, 2010

Benguet: Black-and-White Photographs

What, I wondered, would the visual world be like for those born totally colorblind? Would they, perhaps, lacking any sense of something missing, have a world no less dense and vibrant than our own? Might they even have developed heightened perceptions of visual tone and texture and movement and depth, and live in a world in some ways more intense than our own, a world of heightened reality—one that we can only glimpse echoes of in the work of the great black-and-white photographers? Might they indeed see us as peculiar, distracted by trivial or irrelevant aspects of the visual world, […]