'Little Crusade of Love'
THE circular letter nuisance never ceases. The latest example to come to my notice is the "Catholic Book Crusade." This operates by sending a new book to the first name in a list of four. You then add your name, send the list out to four people and sit back and expect to receive 256 new books. What is not mentioned, as my mathematically minded informant points out, is that the next "victim" can expect 1,024 books, and the next after that 4,096 books, and so on in geometrical progression—quod est absurdum. In other words, the chances are that if you are on the first list of the series you will buy someone a hook in the hope of making a 256 per cent. profit which seems just conceivable, but those who come after you will do the same in the hopes of asironomical numbers of books which will never materialise. 'the final warning on the form is to the effect that if you do not play "you will greatly bar this little Crusade of love."
A New Craze
In my time I have suggested many hobbies to my readers. compostgardening, dogs, bees, painting. Now comes the turn of photography, which is my latest craze. The trouble of photography is that it is expensive. I have owned quite a good camera for years (bought second-hand for less than I should get for it today in a shop), but its occasional use on holidays never resulted in much; in fact, you do better that way with a cheap, simple camera. Now the purchase of an enlarger has made all the difference. That has got me going, and it is quite astonishing how much 1 have got to know through assiduous reading in a very short space of time. Good photography is precision work, and you need a number of gadgets, an exposure meter, tripod, hood, filter, lamps. All this, with camera and enlarger, runs to £100 or near it. On the other hand, second-hand prices are good, and you can get quite a lot of your money hack on well-kept instruments. Also if you do your own developing and printing—as you must with an enlarger—the cost is only a small fraction of the shop's price.
Good Pictures Taking good pictures is not only a question of commanding the complex technique; it means cultivating the right imagination and picking subjects which at first sight seem unpromising. Look at any collection of good photographs. The best are nearly always of subjects which you
would not have thought of photographing. From the artist's point of view, much excitement is to be got from the composition of what is after all a monochrome picture— playing with light and shade. But the camera having done its job, the enlarger takes over and gives you the real fun; for the camera's negative is at best only the raw material of the final picture which can be varied in endless ways with the enlarger.
Writing all this is only a bit of an excuse for printing this week the accompanying picture of the two puppies. Benedict a n d Gregory, whose Caesarian birth was solemnly recorded by me a few weeks ago. I made a mistake in not getting something like a match-box into the photo
to show up their size. The picture is taken on a ping-pong table. and you may just he ahic to sec the net in the background. Photography is ohvinusly a good hobby for the journalist. and I shall always he glad of suggestions for striking pictures tin or near London) which could usefully be published. My initial success did appear on the front-page some weeks ago; and I wonder if you can guess which is my next. Anyhow, it's fun; and I think many camera-owners would get great enjoyment if they took the trouble to find out more about the possibilities of the instrument they own.
Getting to know St. Paul
IHAVE been meaning for some time to say a word about a short. popular and cheap life of St. Paul in French by that most readable and thoughtful French writer DanielRops. He was kind enough to send me a personal copy, and remembering the excellence of his two volumes on the People of the Bible I at once did what I too rarely do, namely, read a complimentary copy. I do not regret it. Daniel-Bops has a vivid, yet conservative, imagination, and he has obviously steeped himself in the history and archaeology of Biblical lands and times. In an unpretentious and simple way he makes St. Paul in his own times live again. How valuable these popularising works done with real knowlcdae, care and love are. I hope it will be translated and published as cheaply as the French ecnion which only costs 250 francs at the Librairie Fayard.