25 Years Ago in the JBPA/JBP
Thomas St. John Merrill, FBPA
Abstract In this column, we look back at the content and imagery found in the Journal of the Biological Photographic Association (JBPA), later renamed the Journal of Biological Photography (JBP). This column examines important articles and imagery from 25 years ago. In doing so, we gain some insight into those legacy photographic tools and techniques of that time.
IntroductionIn 1997, the Journal of Biological Photography published Volume 65 in three issues. Numbers 1 and 2 were combined into one issue. Number 3 was a single issue, and Number 4 was a Cumulative Index of issues from 1932 to 1997. Here, we will provide a look back at all these issues.
JBP Volume 65, No. 1 & 2
The cover image, by Rob Way of the Food Science and Technology Department of Cornell University, is a composite image of four common foods. Each image required very specific lighting: the eggs were top lit with a white card to add fill; the wine glass was side lit with a diffused flash; the radishes were top lit with a gobo in order to darken the tops; the tomato slices were placed on a glass plate and back lit. This cover photograph shows the ingenuity of the biophotographer with the application of four different lighting methods.
Cover of JBP Vol. 65, No. 1 & 2, January /April 1997
Lewis E. Parrish from Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, presented a detailed instructional paper, "Facial Anomalies and Corrective Techniques for Frequently Seen Asymmetries in Portraiture." (Figure 1) This paper, along with its nine figures, illustrates lighting and head positions in order to produce portraitures of people, who may have imperfect features. The skilled portrait photographer can utilize techniques to help minimize certain facial features, such as a difference in eye size, a broad nose, loop ears, a long nose, etc. Proper technique can produce pleasing professional images. (The results are far beyond today's "selfie" shot with a cell phone held a foot away from the face.)
Figure 1. Portraiture lighting and positions
"The Biological Photographic Association and Professionalism Revisited," by Leon J. Le Beau from LeBeau Images, Indian Head Park, Illinois, illustrates what a professional attitude is.
• A professional is a lifelong student
• A professional strives for excellence
• A professional is committed to his field of endeavor and to its progress
These attributes are shown by members in the BPA. Professionalism is what separates a job from a profession, a photograph from a snapshot.
JBP Volume 65, Number 3
Cover of JBP Vol. 65, No. 3, July 1997
The cover image for Vol. 65, No. 3 is an image of a poinsettia leaf by Norm Barker. He used a Hasselblad camera with a 40mm Zeiss Luminar lens.
Figure 2. Kodak photo CD
"Digital Imaging on a Kodak Photo CD," by Jerry R. Arnold, from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, provides detailed insight into the Kodak Photo CD, a compact disc-based storage system. A dedicated device (attached to a PC) was used to create these proprietary Kodak Photo CD's. (Figure 2)
This device converted image files from TIFF or JPG files to PCD file format. The CD's were a WORM (Write Once Read Many) format. The files could be read on a PC with image editing software, but revised images could only be written back to CD using the Kodak Photo CD device. This medium was used to store and archive images, or one of these CDs could be sent to anyone to read on a PC, but they were not able to make any changes to the file on the CD.
JBP Volume 65, Number 4
Cover of JBP Vol. 65, No. 4, October 1997
This issue is a Cumulative Index, 1932-1997. It lists all the published papers from the Journal of the Biological Photographic Association, Volumes 1-47 (years 1932 to 1978) and the Journal of Biological Photography, Volumes 48-65 (years 1979 to 1997). That is a grand total of 1,849 papers. An Author Index runs ten pages and a Keyword Index runs five pages. This gives access to a wealth of knowledge spanning 65 years.
In reviewing these issues, it illustrates how things have changed, but are still the same. A skilled photographer is needed to produce professional images, not ones that are simply "good enough," as when recorded with a cell phone.
Thomas St. John Merrill, FBPA
Tom Merrill, a US Army Medic, and Viet Nam veteran, has been a biological photographer and member of BPA/BCA since 1968. He has been honored with both a Fellowship in the BPA and an Emeritus Membership. He lives in Southern California with his wife, Marie, his wife of 53 years.
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Conflict or Interest Statement
The Journal of Biocommunication Management Board and Editors believe that transparency in academic research is essential. Our JBC authors are now required to disclose any possible conflict of interest when submitting a manuscript. In accordance with the Journal of Biocommunication's editorial policy, no potential conflict of interest has been reported or declared by this author.