1989 BPA Workshop at RIT. Image courtesy of Professor Michael Peres, RBP, FBPA
The BioCommunications Association was founded at Yale University in 1931 as the Biological Photographic Association (BPA) by 38 photographers who recognized the need to exchange technical information and to recognize professional excellence. One of their number, C. Graham Eddy, first coined the word 'biophotography' in an article published in the Association's Journal.
In the early years, BPA members pioneered in many areas - the first slow-motion film of the human heart, flourescien angiography of the human brain, infrared documentation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the first photomicrographic mapping of motor-nerve endings were just a few of the milestone events recorded by BPA members. The Museum and Medical Arts service of the US Armed Services (WWII) was the brainchild of BPA members, as was the peacetime medical illustration service of the Veterans Administration.
Members of the Association have contributed to many moments in history – for example, a BPA member (and later Registered Biological Photographer) documented the autopsy performed on President John F. Kennedy. They have produced landmark works, such as Dr. Roger Loveland's definitive two-volume treatise on photomicrography. Additionally, every Director of Scientific Imaging at Eastman Kodak Company has been a member of the BCA.
Images by members have appeared in the pages of major scientific journals and textbooks, in meetings and presentations at international conferences and educational institutions as well as the popular press and magazines. As leaders in communication media for medicine, BPA members have produced such innovative programs as the first nationally broadcast coverage of open heart surgery on the PBS network and have used video motion analysis to help the Los Angeles Dodgers keep their winning pitchers healthy. Through the work of BCA members, biological imaging continues to help write the history of medical and scientific discovery!
Written to memorialize the first 50 years of the BPA, author H. Lou Gibson, RBP, FBPA, Hon. FPSA chronicles the early history of the BPA and the evolution of medical photography that influenced methods of teaching, research and publication. Click to download this 143 page historic publication.
See the Wikipedia article on the history of medical photography.