Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.
Dávid Biró: Indistinct, 2015

The Case of the Colorblind Painter

Dec 07, 2017 - Dávid Biró

In 1986, a 65 years old artist lost his colour vision due to a car accident. His perception and mental sensation weakened, he had grayscale dreams which had been vibrant before. It must have been an extreme change for a painter who works with colours every day. Despite his new sight, he could define his favourite paintings by Pantone colour chart that he used for decades. People appeared like living statues to him, their skins were grey as well. Since he found this new scene disgusting, he had to eat originally black and white food e.g. black olive, rice, and yoghurt. Oliver Sacks described this story in his study titled “The Case of the Colorblind Painter”.


The patient used photography for several times to explain the scenery and he had an amazing conclusion:

“We accept drawings, films, television—small, flat images in black and white you can look at, or away from, when you want. It is only an image, it is not supposed to be real. But imagine black and white all around you, 360 degrees, all solid and three-dimensional, and there all the time—a total black and white world.”


That is how I discovered vision as a fascinating topic to work with. Since this text, I think of photography as a tool to examine reality or as an extension of the human sight.