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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, 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

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Jona | Backpacking with a Book

Hi, I'm Jona! I write stories and poetry and take a lot of photos, which I'm too lazy to upload. If you want to receive some photos that I don't share here on the blog, please leave your email here. I'm crazy about cats too. Feel free to browse through BWAB, and I would love it if you say hi! For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com For more stories about BWAB, check here. Connect with us through

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3 Comments

  1. […] a travel on an island isolated in terms of geography and the rarity of their respective diseases: achromatopsia (colorblindedness) in Micronesia and lytico-bodig in Guam. And since memory, as Edelman reminds us, […]

  2. Lovely pictures.. My son is color-blind; although he told me that he can identify primary colors. Secondary colors are seen as primary too so he had difficulty in appreciating arts in terms of colors. He just said that a beautiful masterpiece is based on curves and representation 🙂

    Love your work!

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