This painting of Professor Lucas is a monochrome black and white portrait which simulates standard vision minus colour. The painting acts as a reference point to allow viewers to make a comparison with the other two paintings in the series. These are altered in order to represent the elements of vision created by different cells of the eye, cones and ipRGCs.
The existence of the hitherto unknown photo-receptors, later named IpRGCs, which are now the focus of Lucas’s work, was first recognised by the professor’s early research of 1999.
This painting is a black and white image that simulates some of the properties of vision created by the eye’s cone cells which react to light and create our daytime colour vision. The colour has been removed to show some of the other image qualities that these cells transmit to the brain. These cells help us find the edges of objects and place objects in space. However they are not so good at recognising the subtle differences in luminescence (brightness) created when light is reflected off surfaces.
This painting describes some of Prof. Lucas and his team’s research into the newly discovered eye cells known as Intrinsically Photoreceptive Retinal Ganglion Cells (ipRGCs). Their experiments suggest that these cells contribute to how we perceive luminescence. Unlike cone cells, ipRGCs aren’t great for edge finding or placing objects in space, but they can help us recognise the minute differences in brightness that occur when light is reflected off objects helping us to see their shape, in this case the subtly undulating surface of Rob’s face.