ASMP — American Society of Media Photographers

Explore A Tropical Paradise Through the Eyes of the Colorblind

By July 17, 2017Strictly Business Blog

Image © Sanne de Wilde

Cross-posted from

[by Laura Mallonee]

The Micronesian island of Pingelap bursts with color. White beaches gleam beneath the bluest of skies. Tropical fish in every shade fill the aquamarine lagoon and birds in vivid hues fly among lush green palms. Surrounding it all lies an azure sea stretching toward the horizon. But a surprising number of the people who live there see only a kaleidoscope of black, white, and shades of gray.

An unusually high number of Pingelapese are completely colorblind, a condition called achromatopsia. This rare disorder afflicts one in every 30,000 people in most parts of the world, or roughly .00003 percent of the population. But as many as 10 percent of the people on this tiny Pacific island live with it. They see no color, are extremely sensitive to light, and generally have poor vision. “It’s easy to recognize them,” says Belgian photographer Sanne de Wilde. “They blink and squint constantly.”

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