Let’s get back to the topic of Beauty.
Unless you are a member of ISIS, you all might agree that this scene is beautiful. This Gila woodpecker might easily fit onto a page of Allure Magazine with his natty herringbone coat tucked over his proud breast. Accenting his smart expressive dark eyes and matching beak is his spot of orange atop his head. Surely, he must be the Moses of Woodpeckers–a wise patriarch with a head covering.
The unity of body and proportion harmonizes as he speculates about his next move while perched on a festive feeder. The fresh green background emphasizes the beauty of this bird.
Is the picture just as beautiful in black and white?
I would argue no, it is not.
While the subject is the same, our perception changes without color. Of course, perception (as a philosophy) can be internal, external, or a combination of the two. Perhaps we only engage internal perception in black and white whereas external perception (where sensory experience kicks in) is manifest in color and emotion.
No longer is the scene striking. Now, a Gila woodpecker stops momentarily on a cold empty feeder. His disappointment is apparent. Where to go in 32 degree weather? His confusion is palpable. He tucks his tail feathers and inflates his plumage to stay warm.
Is he wondering why he (who has a short beak ) has landed on a hummingbird feeder?