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Image formation is traditionally described by a number of individual models, one for each specific effect in the image formation process. However, it is difficult to aggregate the effects by concatenating such individual models. In this paper, we apply light transport analysis to derive a unified image formation model that represents the radiance along a light ray as a 4-D light field signal and physical phenomena such as lens refraction and blocking as linear transformations or modulations of the light field. This unified mathematical framework allows the entire image formation process to be elegantly described by a single equation. It also allows most geometric and photometric effects of imaging, including perspective transformation, defocus blur, and vignetting, to be represented in both 4-D primal and dual domains. The result matches that of traditional models. Generalizations and applications of this theoretic framework are discussed.