© James E. Hayden, RBP, FBCA
The Board of Registry of the BioCommunications Association managed the certification process for the Registered Biological Photographer Program (RBP). It was started in 1961-4 as way to evaluate candidates in the field of biological photography.
The examination consisted of three sections, a written, a practical and an oral exam. The written test encompassed optics, photochemistry, photomicrography, photomacrography, theory of light and color, medical terminology, studio techniques and motion media. Emerging technologies such as digital photography, video, and image editing were added to the examination.
Upon completion of the written exam, a portfolio of 30 assignments, ranging from photomicrography, photomacrography and clinical photography, to portraiture, videography, and scientific publication, was submitted to a committee of the Board for grading. There were 18 required assignments, with an additional 12 elective projects, selected from a list of 60, to demonstrate individual strengths in the field.
Finally, each candidate was required to prepare an oral presentation on an area of their expertise and examined by a panel of the Board on any topic associated with biological photography. After completing the exam process, the candidate was certified by the Board of Registry as a Registered Biological Photographer. The full study guide for the program is provided below for historical reference.
There are 419 individuals who completed the examination process and were certified as Registered Biological Photographers. The complete listing is presented below.
In the late 1990's and early 2000's, the RBP program was modified and renamed as the Certified Biological Photographer (CBP) program. This was an attempt to reflect the ways in which the field was changing with the widespread advent of digital photography techniques. The RBP program was created in an era of analog, silver-based technology and the practical exam assignments were hard-wired to be evaluated for those techniques only. The CBP interpretations maintained the same assignments, but re-worked the specific requirements. In this way, a candidate was allowed to complete the work through digital means and the new protocols provided a way to evaluate assignments regardless of the processes used. The CBP assignments and grading criteria for the practical exam are provided below.
At the 2004 Annual Meeting of the BCA, the CBP program was closed to new candidates. The change in many work environments altered the way people worked from an all inclusive approach to skill specific tasks. The Board of Registry was reorganized in 2004 as the Certification Committee of the Board of Governors to be able to better address the need for certification. The first program to be developed under this reorganization was the Total Body Photography (TBP) certification.
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