Total colorblindness only occurs in about 1 in 30,000 people around the world. Why then, does the small population of Pingelap in the Pacific Ocean, appear to have between four and ten percent of their villagers totally colorblind?

Sanne De Wilde set out to Pingelap to photograph what she assumes the tropical location looks like to its colorblind population, and her pictures are certainly fascinating.

This island has actually been dubbed the “Island of the Colorblind” from the time of a former king who survived a tsunami in the late 18th century in the area. Only 20 islanders were said to have survived, and he helped to repopulate Pingelap by having many children. He had the rare gene acrhomatopsia and passed it down to his descendants.

Now, De Wilde’s new book “The Island of the Colorblind” shows what the photographer thinks the world must look like to these colorblind inhabitants. Islanders describe colors of red the most.
After talking about other photographs she had taken with a radio show, De Wilde was contacted by a listener who told her about Pingelap. She made her way there in 2015, interestingly one week after the passing of Oliver Sacks, who had written a book about the people in Pingelap previously.

She mentioned that island life must be very difficult for those with achromatopsia. As she explained, “(People with) achromatopsia are extremely light-sensitive, which is a burden on a super sunny, tropical island. In the daylight, the world looks like a burned-out image. They can hardly keep their eyes open when outside.”