John McCann has always been interested in color. He separated colored salts using chromatography in a high school science-fair project. He synthesized pale-blue and pink isomers of CuCl2 in a freshman independent-research chemistry project at Harvard. He worked for Edwin Land on two-color photography and Retinex Theory during summers at Polaroid. After a degree in Biology 1964, he worked for Land for 20 years; working in, and managing, Polaroid’s Vision Research Lab 1961-1996. Ansel Adams, long-time Polaroid consultant, described the Zone System as: capturing all scene information – “the score”- and transforming it into the desired print – “the performance”. Land and McCann invented algorithms to calculate Adams-like appearance images from luminance arrays in 1971. John and Jon Frankle set up Polaroid’s first digital imaging laboratory in 1975. He developed systems that capture natural scenes, calculate appearances, and write the computed image on media. This process simulates what a painter would do to reproduce a scene. John is a Fellow of the Society of Imaging Science and Technology (IS&T), and Optical Society of America (OSA). He is a past president of IS&T; and the Artists Foundation, Boston; and past-Secretary of the Inter-Society Color Council (charter member of AIC representing the United States). He is the IS&T/OSA-2002 Land Medalist and IS&T 2005 Honorary Member. He continues his research on color vision, photography, and fine art. As well, he is fascinated with the rich histories of photography and all color disciplines.
Title: Color Vision responds to Natural Scenes: Roles of Glare, Receptor Quanta Catch, and Neural Spatial Comparisons
Abstract: The light we see is controlled by both illumination and surface reflectance. The high range of light in natural scenes is the result of nonuniform illumination. The range of reflected light from colorants is limited. Surface reflections can vary from a maximum near 100% to a minimum near 3 % of incident light. The range of illumination in the natural scene is unlimited. How does that affect appearance? Slow gradients in light are barely visible. Sharp edges in illumination affect our vision the same as edges in reflectance. Every day we see objects on our light-emitting displays. Those objects are illumination images. In AIC’s history, there have been many remarkable discoveries, and many rediscoveries, in all areas of color. Using High-Dynamic Range Picture Making as an example, this paper will review how color has changed, and not changed, throughout AIC’s 1967-2021 history discussing Art, Design, Colorimetry, Color Technology and Vision.