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, and insufficiently sensitive to its real visual essence?
He must also, consciously or unconsciously, discover ways of deriving information from other aspects of the visual world, other visual cues which, in the absence of color, may take on a heightened importance. Thus—and this was apparent to us right away—his intense sensitivity and attention to form and texture, to outlines and boundaries, to perspective, depth, and movement, even subtle ones.
—Oliver Sacks, The Island of the Colorblind