Backpacking with a Book
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September 8, 2010
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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


Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona! I’m in my early 30s and is currently based in Ha Noi, Vietnam.I primarily write poetry and short stories in Cebuano and lengthy travel essays in English. Blogging has become an outlet to think out loud. I live the life I set for myself. I try to live an unapologetic life. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at Find me somewhere else!

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  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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