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On the Photography of Dieter Bork

Six slides came to me from Dieter Bork via Dave Mosley (see full details below), or the original letter (page 1 and page 2)) to answer questions of whether the photographs in the Mayland and Bork book South American Dwarf Cichlids have been ``doctored'' in any way. These slides are outtakes from their book, and have not been altered by me in any way, other than gamma-correcting the brightness. They were scanned directly to photo-CD by Kodak.

I have enlarged details from two of the pictures to point out the criticized ``speckle'' pattern of assorted colors reflecting off the scales: a head detail of the cacatuoides, similar to the book's cover, and a closeup of the dorsal fin on the A. bitaeniata. It is my experience that this is due to the angle and type of light source used to illuminate the fish. Clearly it is not the result of any form of digital enhancement.

There have also been some follow-up questions and answers with the publisher.

My utmost thanks go out to the authors for being so generous to let us put their slides on the web, and to Dave for making it happen.

-- Erik

A. bitaeniata

A. cacatuoides

A. cacatuoides

A. luelingi

A. paucisquamis

A. trifasciata

From the original digging by Dave Mosley <dxm1/>

Date: Tue, 07 Apr 1998
To: apisto/

about a week ago, i sent an email to aqualog regarding the photos in the mayland and bork book. i summarized my feelings (disappointed) and included some filtered (i.e. no names, addresses) comments from the list to give them an idea of what american apistophiles were saying.

the dialog with aqualog follows:

Dear Dave,

Thank you very much for your e-mail and your comments on the dwarf cichlid book.

It was very interesting for us to read your comments. Bellow please find some remarks from us:

For future correspondence you can reach us by e-mail with the following address:

We, the publishing company A.C.S. GmbH, produce the AQUALOG - series and just to clarify the South American Dwarf Cichlid book was originally published in German language by "Landbuch Verlag". The authors, Hans Mayland and Dieter Bork are well known to us and we are in close contact .When we have seen the book the first time, we have had exactly the same opinion - good content, but the photos are too colourful. However we thought it's worth to have a English version. We set up a contract with Landbuch Verlag and they printed a English edition for which we have the world-wide distribution rights. It's important to know, that we from A.C.S. are very strict in term of colours on ornamental fish. We claim to have the only complete and up-to-date reference work. As a publisher of a reference work it's strictly forbidden to manipulate the photos especially the colours. Since we know the two authors quite a long time, we know that they apply the same rule. Hans Mayland has written more than fifty books already and he sold more than one million copies of those. At the other hand, Dieter Bork is one of the best aquaristic photographer and he provides continuously photos for AQUALOG books. We have forwarded your comments to them and they came up with the following remarks:

The authors Mayland and Bork thanks the American friends of dwarf chichlids for their comments and the objective criticism. Both are enthusiastic hobbyists and breeder of dwarf cichlids for many years. Therefore they have set themselves very high quality targets for this book, especially for the photographs. All slides were made by using a Nikon F4 equipped with Micro Nikor 105 objective and flash Nikon FB 24. All chosen dwarf cichlids are wildcaught and imported by our sister company Aquarium Glaser, Europe's biggest in- and exporter on ornamental fishes. Before the photos were taken, all fishes were prepared over several weeks. In order to have optimum conditions 25 tanks has been used. The water parameters: Conductivity : 150...200 =B5S and pH 6,5...6,8. The temperature was kept constant on 27=B0 Centigrade. During the entire time of preparation only live food has been used to support the natural colours. When photos were taken from male fishes, the sate of arousal was privileged. According to Landbuch Verlag "Germanys best Lithographer" was used. He isn't a aquarist, that means a planned manipulation of colours was impossible and not the intention of the authors at all! For your reference we have prepared 6 original slides were you can see that the fishes really have these colours. Moreover some of the pictures in the book have lost brilliancy compared to the original slides during scanning and picture processing. Please provide us with your postal address. We will ship the slides immediately. You can keep the slides and you can use them internally ( Buntbarsche Bulletin, etc.), but no commercial use please. Please excuse if my English is incorrect..

Looking forward to hearing from you.

--- Franz Mollekopf

thanks, franz, for your reply. your english is about 200 times better than my german, believe me.

since this is a rather hot topic on the apisto mailing list, i'd like your permission to post your reply to that list. i believe they would all be interested in hearing the publisher's (and author's) point of view. most list members are ardent apisto hobbyists, with a few pro breeders thrown in. as you can tell from the discussion i forwarded you, the general consensus is 'doctored photos'. if this indeed not the case, then some of the more dissatisfied people need to know.

as for the slides, they would be most helpful, as they represent the raw data before "Germanys best Lithographer" saw them. this is a most gracious offer. perhaps, also with your permission (and if i/you were to add the appropriate copyright information on the images), they could be placed on the web for the doubters to scrutinize. just a thought.

--- Dave Mosley

Hi Dave,

Thank you very much for your quick reply. Yes, it's a good idea to put the comments on the apisto mailing list. Would you please be so kind and transform it in a "good English" first? At least correct the big bugs. Regarding the slides, the photographer Dieter Bork, agrees to your proposal, as long as there is no commercial use. If you put them on the web, just mention the copyrights. If you put them into a "electronic format" they will believe that there was no treatment by using PhotoShop etc. In order to mail the slides I just need a postal address. I'm also interested to know your website address. I'm happy that we can clarify the problem. Thank you for co-operation.

Kind regards

Verlag A.C.S. GmbH


i obviously did not "transform" the replies before posting, as i don't feel this would be right. just as i did not "transform" the quotes from the list (except to remove the names and email addresses). now, as i haven't heard much about this lately, i'm not sure how 'hot' an issue it really is.
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