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Interesting reading. One

Interesting reading.

One thing that I would point out is that human vision is a tricky beast and it may be difficult to draw the right conclusions out of empirical results. There are many, many things going on at once... we can get a sense of that from the wide variety of visual illusions out there.

I've found myself that a lot of the theories out there are wrong... e.g.

As far as building a RAW converter goes, some of the color models like LAB might not necessarily be what photographers want.

In the grand scheme of things, I think that the psychology of the end user also plays a huge role. e.g. in premium audio cable, there are 'snake oil' products out there where people buy them because their expectations about the price (expensive=good, etc.) trump their actual perception!!
When looking at a photograph, there are noticeable differences between the reproduced image and real life. e.g. not 3-D, dynamic range cannot reproduce specular highlights, artifacts, etc. etc. We can tell whether we just looked at a photograph or through a window. But for the most part, people forgive that and don't pay attention to the technical flaws/shortcomings.

I think if photographers want to make truly ""realistic"" photos, there is art involved in the photographer tweaking the controls manually to look right. Part of this is to capture the 'signal processing' done by our brain. And sometimes part of it is to aim for naturalism... where the image looks like what it should look like.
To clarify what I mean by naturalism... in audio, we expect gunshots to sound like what they sound like in the movies (they have a certain roar from the compression effects applied to them). Yet actual recordings of gunshots sound very different.