I disagree, that biological eyes and ccd cameras work the same in this regard. I think the opposite is the case, if you want to get Photo/Eye realistic, you should make up your mind about which one of the two you want to have. For example I have never observed those beautiful lens flares you get from multi lens cameras with my single lens eyes.
Photo realism has the great benefit that you can .. well .. take pictures of it. :-)
In case you are interested in "eye realism" take a look at this paper. They try to model what is actually going on in biological eyes. And the results actually look the way the world looks to me when I'm drunk, so they can't be that far off ^^
I remember that paper as well, certainly all very nice in hypothesis, but the actual results they produce aren't really "true to life" as regards to what we actually see or anything. Like I said, I highly suspect our eyes react very similarly to a CCD camera, and in fact our optic nerves getting overloaded has already been suggested in a different mechanism, the noted "blue shift" we perceive when the level of light transitions between rods and cones. Too bad we can't intercept and interpret all those signals going from our eye to our brain to just get an empirical sample of what's going on; but really by that time it would just be easier to get a screen with a huge contrast ratio of 50,000:1 or something and so not have to do HDR in software at all.