Thursday, October 21, 2010

On colour

I recently read Oliver Sacks' The Island of the Colorblind, where he describes two journeys to islands in the Pacific Ocean - some of which has a unusual rate of people genetically disposed to develop achromatopsia, colourblindness. Like Sacks I wonder what it would be like to never having seen colour. It is one thing being colourblind in the sense that you cannot distinguish a red ball in the middle of a green lawn (a condition relatively common, especially among men), even if this can cause enough problems (watch Little Miss Sunshine if you need further proof). But having absolutely no perception of colour, that your entire world consists of shades of black and white and grey, is unfathomable to me (though if you want a glimpse of what the world looks like through the eyes of someone who knows, you should check out the incredibly talented Meghan Sims). It sounds oddly like living in an old movie. However, I learned from the book that it is slightly less glamorous than that, since people with this condition also tend to have other problems with their vision, as well as the social implications it might have "being different".

It might seem like a strange jump to go from this to the current Burrow feature, which is a tribute to colours.  We have picked pictures relating to a colour and organized them in a specter, where one drabble unlocks every day for the month of October. Even if someone with achromatopsia would only see the pictures in shades of grey, or even blurry shades of grey, however, they might enjoy the drabbles which in one way or another are tied to the colour it's representing. No one can describe colours in words, perhaps, but we're never afraid to take on a challenge in the Burrow.

So, whether your colour vision is perfect or not, I urge you to visit www.the-burrow.org this month and throughout November to get an idea how we see the world through colours.

15 comments:

M.J. Nicholls said...

Just had a look at your primsatic
drabble feature. That is awesome. You should Facebook The Burrow more often so I remember to visit!

Ann said...

My brother is colour blind in the red/green sense and I felt sad for him, but how grim life would be devoid of all colour! Sad

Jules said...

Wonderful insight Cruella. I often do think of colorless images, especially when photographing something. Nice post. :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm a visual person and it would suck to see the world only in greys.

Clarissa Draper said...

My brother-in-law is really color blind and only sees in grays and one color - yellow. What a sad existence not to see the colors of fall or the flowers of spring.

My husband is also color blind and where he has an issue is traffic lights. In Canada and the US it's okay because the red is on the left or top and green on the right or bottom.

Well, in Mexico, often traffic lights are installed whatever way a installer chooses and so sometimes the green is on the left and sometime it's on the right. It makes it difficult to know whether to stop or go.

CD

Summer said...

I read a book once, called The Magician, in which the main character was a photographer with that disorder. She mostly only went out at night, and when she went out during the day, she wore dark, heavy sunglasses. I guess she had some light sensitivity, too. Anyway, it was really interesting and different, and it's stuck with me all these years.

Summer said...

Oops, it was called The Magician's Tale. Here's the goodreads linke: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/626156.The_Magician_s_Tale

Holly Ruggiero said...

You know for as rare at colorblindness is suppose to be I’ve known quite a few people including women who are colorblind.

The Golden Eagle said...

Color plays such an important role in human life, even though we hardly pay close attention to it at all; those who aren't color blind just acknowledge it and move on.

Hart Johnson said...

I would definitely be sad to lose my sense of color--my husband has very pale blue eyes, and I've HEARD they are more sensitive to loss in the blue/green spectrum, and sure enough, he can't tell blue from green to save his life. It is probably why the little COLOR in his wardrobe tends to be red, maroon or yellow.

HulaBuns said...

My first love was colorblind. I met him in a class and after I playfully made fun of him wearing pants that didn't match what he had on - found out that he was colorblind. Booo me!

Great info, thanks for sharing! I can't imagine living in a world without colors.

Now off to The Burrows to check out Drabbles! :)

Kelly said...

I'm thankful that I see (and dream) in full, vivid color!!

I've read some wonderful poetry that did a mighty fine job of describing specific colors.

LTM said...

and even in the black & white are shades of grey~ :D <3

ViolaNut said...

I totally have to plug Jasper Fforde's Shades of Grey now. Aside from the obvious flow from the previous comment, it's really good. Go read it. :-)

K A B L O O E Y said...

This post is packed with fascinating links. Loved the browse through the burrow, Oliver Sachs is always so interesting to read, the artist's work is very interesting and diverse and her story is as well. My dad was a colorblind artist (odd, huh?), but he had red-green colorblindness. We have a lot of it in our family, as well.

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